Canton mill notches another violation

Canton mill notches another violation File photo

Pactiv Evergreen’s paper mill in Canton has been hit with its fifth-straight notice of an environmental violation following the failure of a quarterly discharge toxicity test. 

The latest NOV, published March 14, indicated that the mill had failed its December 2023 test — a test it conducts itself and had failed four quarters in a row prior to the latest violation. The NOV also marks the mill’s eighth since it closed last June and its 23rd since May 2021.

In a February Smoky Mountain News story about the last discharge toxicity violation, Laura Oleniacz, public information officer for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Resources, said that to determine whether Pactiv Evergreen would be issued a civil penalty, Department of Water Resources would perform two follow-up tests and average those numbers to determine whether they’re still in violation.

“Canton Mill failed their quarterly tests in March, June and September, but the averages of follow-up tests met the permit limits, so no civil penalties will be issued,” Oleniacz said in that story.

The mill’s wastewater discharge permit mandates that it performs the quarterly testing using water fleas as indicators of effluent toxicity. If there is a significant drop in the number of water fleas, it indicates a higher toxicity, and the plant fails the test.

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