Paper mill logs new violation notice

After 115 years, the mill in Canton stopped making paper in May. Max Cooper photo After 115 years, the mill in Canton stopped making paper in May. Max Cooper photo

Pactiv Evergreen has been issued its second notice of violation in less than a month, bringing its total since May 2021 up to 15 — more than one violation every two months, on average.


This newest violation, issued Aug. 2, states that a review of the company’s toxicity self-monitoring report forms for March show a violation of the toxicity limit in its wastewater permit.

According to the permit, the mill must perform quarterly tests to ensure that discharge from the plant doesn’t have “observable inhibition of reproduction or significant mortality to Ceriodaphnia dubia at an effluent concentration of 90%.” Commonly known as the water flea, C. dubia is a tiny aquatic invertebrate that is used as an indicator to measure water toxicity. If the species can’t survive, the water quality is likely poor.

In results posted 2019-2023, levels had been recorded as 100%, well above the 90% limit. The only exceptions were June 2022, when the result was 97.5%, and March 2023, when the figure plummeted to 45%.

The Aug. 2 letter directs the mill, which ceased production in May, to “take whatever remedial actions are necessary to eliminate the conditions causing the effluent toxicity violation(s).” These efforts could include conducting a toxicity reduction evaluation, a site-specific study to identify what caused the toxicity, isolating the sources of the toxicity, evaluating the effectiveness of toxicity control options and confirming reductions in effluent toxicity.

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State law allows for fines to be assessed when permit limits and requirements are violated, the letter warns.

The permit in question is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which governs the quality of the water leaving the mill after going through its on-site treatment system. Following a slate of public hearings in 2021, the permit was renewed in March 2022.

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