Jump to main content.

Project XL Logo

Weyerhaeuser Company

Flint River Operations Fact Sheet

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Office of the Administrator
September 1998

Project XL: Weyerhaeuser
Flint River Operation


Project XL, which stands for "eXcellence and Leadership," is a national initiative that tests innovative ways of achieving better and more cost-effective public health and environmental protection. The experience and lessons learned from Project XL will assist EPA in redesigning its current regulatory and policy-setting approaches. Project XL encourages testing of cleaner, cheaper, and smarter ways to attain environmental results superior to those achieved under current regulations and policies, in conjunction with greater accountability to stakeholders. Project XL is limited in scope, having a goal commitment of 50 pilot projects. Therefore, it is vital that each project test new ideas with potential for wide application and broad environmental benefits. As of August 1998, nine pilot experiments are being implemented and twenty additional projects are currently being developed.

Weyerhaeuser Company's pulp manufacturing facility in Oglethorpe, Georgia, is striving to minimize the environmental impact of its manufacturing processes on the Flint River and surrounding environment by pursuing a long-term vision of a Minimum (environmental) Impact Mill. Weyerhaeuser Company is taking immediate steps by decreasing water use and meeting or exceeding all regulatory targets. EPA and the State of Georgia have agreed to propose changes in the rules to support minimum impact manufacturing. The Final Project Agreement was signed on January 17, 1997.

Through a combination of enforceable requirements and voluntary goals, Weyerhaeuser Company will improve the health of the nearby Flint River and surrounding watersheds by:

Cutting its bleach plant effluent by 50 percent over a ten-year period
Reducing water usage by about 1 million gallons a day
Cutting its solid waste generation in half over a ten-year period
Committing to reduce energy use
Reducing constituents of hazardous waste
Improving forest management practices in over 300,000 acres of
land by stabilizing soil, creating streamside buffers, and
safeguarding unique habitats
Adopting ISO 14001, an international standard that defines the
elements of an effective environmental management system

EPA is offering Weyerhaeuser Company the flexibility to consolidate routine reports into two reports per year and to use alternative means to meet the requirements of new regulations that prescribe maximum achievable control technology. EPA also is waiving government review prior to certain physical modifications, provided emissions do not exceed stipulated levels.

In just the first year of the project, Weyerhaeuser was able to achieve 40 percent waste reduction by consolidating a number of routine reports into two per year, and use alternative means to meet air pollution control technology requirements.

Weyerhaeuser Company is working to ensure that stakeholders are involved in the environmental design and impact assessment of its proposal and have an opportunity to participate fully in the project's development. Efforts so far have included:

A series of regional public meetings in Oglethorpe, Georgia
Personal contacts through telephone calls and meetings
Oral briefings and broad distribution of written descriptions of Project XL to both management and staff employees
Oral briefings and the distribution of a written project summary to interested national non-governmental organizations
An annual stakeholder public meeting to share Project XL
performance data (scheduled for January 1998)
Publication of notices in courthouses and local newspapers
to convey an open invitation and the date and time of the
scheduled public meetings.

How does a facility operate under an environmental management system with a minimum impact goal?
Can new technology to meet ambitious environmental goals be created by a company together with stakeholders and government agencies?
Can "closed loop" technologies achieve environmental benefits well beyond "end-of-pipe" approaches?

EPA HQ: Nancy Birnbaum 202-260-2601
State: Jack Taylor 404-363-7020
Company: Mark Johnson 770-396-8121
Regional: Michelle Glenn, Region 4 404-562-8674

More information about Project XL is available on the Internet at https://www.epa.gov/projectxl.

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.