February 10

Skowhegan, Jay mills named among Maine’s biggest polluters in federal report

Of the 10 companies that produced the highest amounts of toxic emissions in 2012, nine are associated with the pulp and paper industry, including Sappi Fine Paper and Verso Paper Holdings.

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling mhhetling@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

List of toxins, emitters

The biggest toxic materials emitters in the state, ranked by the number of pounds emitted in 2012, according to a list released by the Environmental Protection Agency.

1. Rumford Paper Co., Rumford: 3,064,768

2. McCain Foods USA Inc., Easton: 2,245,259

3. S.D. Warren Co., Skowhegan: 2,047,242

4. Verso Paper Holdings, LLC., Jay: 1,624,513

5. Woodland Pulp LLC, Baileyville: 1,136,512

6. Red Shield Acquisition LLC, Old Town: 448,897

7. Great Northern Paper LLC, East Millinocket: 366,177

8. Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC, Lincoln: 359,638

9. S.D. Warren Co., Westbrook: 257,574

10. Verso Paper Bucksport Mille, Bucksport: 138,986


The 10 most emitted toxic substances in Maine in 2012, ranked by number of pounds.


1. Zinc compounds: 3,094,159

2. Nitrate compounds: 2,522,583

3. Methanol: 2,027,943

4. Manganese compounds: 1,388,386

5. Ammonia: 907,956

6. Hydrogen Sulfide: 587,789

7. Hydrochloric acid (1995 and after “acid aerosols” only): 381,395

8. Acetaldehyde: 183,936

9. Barium compounds: 128,459

10. Chromium compounds: 94,094

Rieke drew a connection between Sappi’s inclusion on the list and its position as one of the largest manufacturing facilities in the state.

“Sappi Fine Paper North America is committed to managing our environmental impact in the communities in which we operate, and is dedicated to implementing internationally recognized environmental management systems,” she said.

Verso did not return calls seeking comment on Monday afternoon.

Every other company on the list — Woodland Pulp Co., of Baileyville, Red Shield Acquisition, of Old Town; Great Northern Paper, of East Millinocket; and Lincoln Paper & Tissue, of Lincoln — is associated with the pulp and paper industry.

The EPA report also listed the top 10 toxic substances being emitted in the state, by weight.

The most emitted toxin in the report were zinc compounds, with more than 3 million pounds in 2012, followed by nitrate compounds, with 2.5 million pounds, and methanol, with about 2 million pounds. The other toxic chemicals that made the list are manganese compounds, ammonia, hydrochloric acid, aceteldehyde, barium compounds and chromium compounds, which were number 10 on the list with 94,000 pounds emitted.

New on the list of pollutants this year was hydrogen sulfide, which debuted at No. 6, with about 588,000 pounds released in 2012. This is the first year the EPA has tracked the notoriously odorous chemical, which is used to help break down wood into pulp.

Williams said those who live in mill towns know there is less hydrogen sulfide being produced than in previous decades because they can smell the difference.

“In Maine, the mill towns occasionally get that hydrogen sulfide smell, but not very much anymore,” he said.

The Toxic Release Inventory, which has been released every year since 1986, includes information on chemicals that are released into the environment from the mills, as well as chemicals transported to disposal facilities. The EPA noted in its report that changes in volume could be attributable to factors including changes in the business cycle that don’t reflect a company’s pollution prevention program.

Curt Spaulding, regional administrator of the EPA’s New England office, said in a statement released with the report that the data helps people protect their health and gives communities information to help guide their decisions.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287 mhhetling@centralmaine.com Twitter: @hh_matt
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