DOE fines Kimberly-Clark $20,000

  • MIKE BENBOW / Herald Writer
  • Monday, November 20, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News


Herald Writer

EVERETT — Kimberly-Clark Corp. has been fined $20,000 for continuing pollution violations, the state Department of Ecology reported Monday.

The fines, $12,000 and $8,000, respectively, relate to incidents this summer in which the paper products manufacturer exceeded the limit for suspended solids and for the acidity of the treated wastewater it releases into Port Gardner Bay.

"It is a pretty big penalty on purpose," Carol Kraege, supervisor of DOE’s industrial section, when asked about the size of the fine.

Kraege noted that Kimberly-Clark was fined for similar violations in 1998. "We hope this penalty will serve as a deterrent against additional permit violations," Kraege said.

Mill manager Dave Faddis acknowledged the incidents, noting the company had detected them and reported itself to DOE.

"We regret these incidents," he said. "We know exactly how they happened, and why they happened and we’ve taken steps to prevent them."

Faddis said Kimberly-Clark got behind in removing paper fibers from its discharge water as it was working this summer to install a bleaching system required by new environmental regulations.

The mill was shut down in October to complete the installation and is now operating under the new system.

"We feel we aren’t at risk" to repeat the environmental violations, Faddis said.

The company also is in the process of an $11 million project to vastly increase the amount of water that is recycled for mill processes and to dramatically reduce its discharges.

Merley McCall, DOE pulp and paper unit supervisor, said the solids discharged by Kimberly-Clark were "paper fibers and bug bodies" with the bugs coming from the plant’s biological waste treatment system.

He said the violations in and of themselves weren’t harmful and were likely immeasurable in the environment. But he said that solids can block light and can settle on the sea floor, smothering nearby life.

They’re an indication that Kimberly-Clark’s treatment methods aren’t working as they should, he added.

"We want the system operated as efficiently as possible," McCall said.

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