Effluents from Kaukas pulp mill are back to normal

The emissions from UPM-Kymmene Kaukas pulp mill and operations of the effluent treatment plant are back to normal. The objective is not to exceed July's average permit of 75 tonnes per day despite high COD emission volumes in the beginning of the month. If necessary, the mill will further reduce production.

The quality of lake water has already improved as a result of the normalised effluent loading in the vicinity of the mill. Towards the end of July there should be no noticeable consequences, nor any permanent damage is expected.

The maintenance shut down of the pulp mill was longer than usual this summer. Consequently, the start up at the end of June and early July was difficult and caused severe problems at the effluent treatment plant. Firstly, soap was discharged in the Lake Saimaa, which caused turbidity in the lake water. Secondly, neutralised black liquor, which results in Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), was released. This led to consumption of oxygen from the lake water in the vicinity of the mill and caused fish to die. At the height of the situation the production was temporarily shut down. After re-start production has been reduced in order to normalise the effluent loading.

Shut downs at pulp mills often cause exceptional emissions but rarely to this extent. In this case there were exceptionally many disturbances at various pulp mill departments. The problems focused at the evaporation plant from where secondary condensates containing black liquor were discharged to the effluent treatment plant, they were neutralised and finally released into Lake Saimaa.

Many simultaneous disturbances made it difficult to get an overview of the situation and the seriousness was realised too late. The start up of the pulp mill was postponed to the weekend. It made the situation more difficult while receiving control results and the overall supervision and control differed from the weekday situation.

The mill has taken steps to rectify the situation by revising operative guidelines. Further precautions have been put in place by installing different alarm devices.

UPM-Kymmene will compensate for the damages caused by the emissions. Claims will be investigated together with the authorities. Financial effects from pulp production reduction and other extra costs are estimated at over two million euros.

For more information please contact:
Mr Risto Löppönen, Production Unit Director, UPM-Kymmene Kaukas, tel. +358 204 15 4679 or +358 40 545 7327

UPM-Kymmene
Corporate Communications
July 14, 2003