Pulp and Paper Industry and the Environment
New bleached kraft pulp mills and modernised existing mills have been required to meet strict environmental guidelines set by regulatory authorities. This has led pulp mill designs to include state-of-the-art technology applications and for existing mills to incorporate new technological advances in process design which improve liquid effluent quality and/or reduce the quantity discharged. The trend is towards low-chlorine bleaching sequences or chlorine-free bleaching technology.
The formation of organochlorines and their emission in bleaching liquid effluents has become a major focus of the public's concern about the environmental impact of the pulp and paper industry.
EnviroGulf Consulting offers consulting services to clients in the following areas:
- Aquatic biological impact assessment of pulp and paper industry effluents discharged to freshwater, estuarine and marine environments.
- Identification, characterisation and measurement of toxic substances in effluent and receiving water compartments.
- Monitoring: design, planning, execution of monitoring programs.
- Collation, reduction, analyses and interpretation of monitoring data.
- Advice on toxicity bioassay and testing of liquid effluents, in-plant effluent streams and recipient waters.
- Ecotoxicological assessment of receiving waters.
- Critical appraisal of existing monitoring databases with data reduction, analysis and interpretation.
- Determination of cause and effect relationships, where possible.
EnviroGulf Consulting subcontracts locally or internationally-registered analytical laboratories to analyse our clients' samples. In some cases the consulting arms of the research and development divisions of operating pulp and paper manufacturers may be accessed, with client approval.
The following determinands can be analysed:
- Total Chlorinated Organics:
- Extractable organically bound chlorine (EOCl).
- Total organically bound chlorines (TOCl).
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
- Adsorbable organic halogens (AOX) and extractable organic halogen (EOX).
- Chlorinated phenolics:
- Tri- to penta-chlorophenols including individual isomers.
- Chlorocatechols (3,4,5-TCC and Tetra-CC) and chloroguaiacols (3,4,5-TCG, 3,4,6-TCG and Tetra-CG).
- Chlorinated phenolic metabolites: Chloroveratroles, chloroanisoles, and chlorosyringols.
- Resin acids.
- Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF), seventeen individual 2,3,7,8-chloro-containing isomers of dioxin and furan, and totals for five congener groups.
- Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)
- Chemical oxygen demand (COD)
- Total suspended solids (TSS)
- Total and dissolved metals
- Hydrogen sulphide (H2S)
Caution is exercised when using sum parameters such as EOCl an AOX in hazard assessment and EnviroGulf Consulting appreciates their intrinsic limitations for assessing environmental impact. Where necessary or specified by regulatory authorities, it may be essential to determine the nature and concentrations of specific organochlorine compounds in the various environmental compartments that have been exposed.
The Principal of EnviroGulf Consulting has carried out toxicological reviews and undertaken aquatic surveys of the downstream effects of pulp and paper mill effluent discharges:
- Bell Bay Pulp Mill Project (2008) - Ecological risk assessment of wharf construction disturbance of contaminated estuarine bed sediments and the potential for contaminant release (to Gunns Limited).
- Bell Bay Pulp Mill Project (2007) - Review of the behaviour, toxicity and fate of effluent-derived chlorate (ClO3-) in the marine environment, including an assessment of chlorate persistence and natural degradation processes (to Gunns Limited).
- Bell Bay Pulp Mill Project (2007) - Environmental impact assessment of the likely effects of suspended bed sediments and underwater noise derived from marine construction and pile driving for a new pulp mill on benthic invertebrates, fish, fur seals, whales, dolphins and sea turtles, and an Atlantic salmon aquacultural facility (to Gunns Limited).
- Bell Bay Pulp Mill Project Panel Inquiry (2006 - 2007) - Independent peer reviewer and expert witness to Freehills (a commercial law firm) in preparing its case for the Resource Planning and Development (RPDC) Panel Inquiry into the Draft Integrated Impact Statement (Draft IIS) for the Bell Bay Pulp Mill Project, Tasmania (to Freehills for Gunns Limited).
- East Gippsland Paper Products Development Study (1989): Review and interpretation of pulp mill ecotoxicology literature and development of environmental guidelines for a new mill east of Lake Entrance (NSR/Camp Scott & Furphy for Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands).
- ANM Boyer Pulp & Paper Mill (1989): Analysis and interpretation of process effluent and metal residues in the River Derwent, Tasmania, and the consequences of river dredging operations (NSR for Benders Civil Developments Pty. Ltd.).
- Valleyfield Paper Mill (1972): Water quality and biological monitoring of the River North Esk (Edinburgh, UK), both upstream and downstream of the paper mill effluent discharge.
- Dalmore Paper Mills at Penicuik and Auchendinny (1972): Water quality and biological monitoring of the River North Esk (Edinburgh, UK), both upstream and downstream of the effluent discharges from the two paper mills.
Other relevant work:
- Basslink Draft Integrated Impact Assessment Statement (2000-2002) - Assessment of the marine biological effects of chlorine produced oxidants and halogenated organic compounds produced at the positive electrode (anode) of the proposed Basslink Interconnector across Bass Strait - on the basis of computer-predicted chlorine residual concentrations and transport and dispersion modelling (to NSR for Basslink Proprietory Limited).