RALEIGH – The N.C. Environmental Management Commission has scheduled a public hearing to gather comments on the proposed issuance of a federal discharge permit for the Blue Ridge Paper Products facility in Canton.
The permit will allow the company to discharge treated industrial and domestic wastewater into the Pigeon River.
The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Tuscola High School, 564 Tuscola Road, Waynesville. Registration for the meeting starts at 6 p.m.
The facility was established in 1908 to produce pulp for the Champion paper mill in Hamilton, Ohio. Blue Ridge Paper acquired ownership of the mill in May 1999 from Champion International. In 2007, the facility was purchased by the Rank Group and now operates as a subsidiary of Evergreen Packaging. The company employs about 1,500 people in North Carolina.
In 1990, Champion International Corporation initiated a $300 million project termed the Canton Modernization Project. The project eliminated the use of elemental chlorine and implemented significant changes to both the pine and hardwood bleaching lines.
Under Champion Paper, the environmental impacts of the Canton Mill were noted by concerned residents, environmental groups, the states of Tennessee and North Carolina, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The issues raised by these individuals and groups contributed to the Canton Mill’s improved environmental performance and resulted in a settlement agreement on Jan. 8, 1998. All the conditions in the settlement agreement have been met.
This permit has focused on two main issues associated with the mill’s discharge: color and temperature. These issues are covered in a fact sheet available at the N.C. Division of Water Quality’s Web site at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq/event-calendar
by clicking the Blue Ridge Paper hearing event.
Comments, statements, data and other information relating to permit reissuance may be submitted in writing before, during or after the hearing. Oral comments made at the hearing may be time-limited at the discretion of the hearing officer so everyone has an opportunity to speak. Oral presentations that exceed three minutes should be accompanied by three written copies, which will be filed with staff members with the N.C. Division of Water Quality at the time of registration.
The hearing record will remain open at least 30 days after the Jan. 26 public hearing to enable people to submit written comments to the state Division of Water Quality. Mail all written comments to: Dina Sprinkle, NC DWQ, NPDES Unit, 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1617.
A copy of the draft permit, the draft permit fact sheet, a map showing the discharge location and the public notice are available at the following link on the division’s Web site, http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq/event-calendar. People can also get this information by contacting Sprinkle at (919) 807-6304.