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International Paper: Effluent Improvements

Under this XL project, the International Paper Androscoggin Mill (IP-Androscoggin) in Jay, Maine, has received a waiver from certain Best Management Practices (BMPs) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). In exchange for this regulatory flexibility, IP-Androscoggin will implement a series of effluent improvement projects tailored specifically to the mill's operations. IP will also accept numeric limits in their water quality permit corresponding to the expected improvements in effluent quality. Two key features of the project are that:

The effluent improvement projects for the mill will be designed and selected by a Collaborative Process Team that includes representatives from IP, EPA, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Town of Jay, and other stakeholder groups

The mill's effluent discharge permit will be revised twice during the project: Once at project onset to include numeric limitations for color and chemical oxygen demand (COD) that guarantee sustained environmental performance at current levels; and a second time at the conclusion of the project to capture any performance improvements deriving from the XL project.


Replacing generic BMP requirements with targeted, facility-specific effluent improvement projects and with new permit limits is expected to reduce the mill's discharge levels of several key pollutants to approximately half of current levels. A reduction of this magnitude is unlikely to occur without the XL Project, and ultimately these effluent improvements will contribute to improved ambient water quality downstream in the Androscoggin River.


Existing federal regulations under the CWA require pulp and paper mills to implement certain BMPs, including installing and maintaining various operating procedures and infrastructure within the facility; monitoring, data gathering, and reporting; and carrying out several other activities designed to prevent leaks and spills of spent pulping liquor, soap and turpentine that might end up in a mill's final effluent. IP claimed in their project proposal that current practices at their Androscoggin Mill, including existing spill prevention procedures and process control technologies, are advanced enough that further implementation of the required BMPs as detailed under the CWA is unlikely to result in significant improvements to the mill's final effluent. EPA's assessment of the proposal confirmed this claim, and gave rise to the Agency's support for the waiver.


Stakeholder involvement is a key component of any successful XL project. For this project, IP contacted stakeholders early on in project development and has requested their input on a continual basis. This project has a unique feature that guarantees continued input by including stakeholders on the collaborative process team that is to assess the effluent improvement projects.

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