The Department of Environmental Quality announced Monday that the agency issued a compliance order and a notice of potential penalty to Temple-Inland, also known as the Bogalusa Paperboard Mill, for a recent fish kill in Pearl River in Washington and St. Tammany parishes.
Violations in the order include that the company didn’t give notice of an emergency situation in a timely manner, the facility exceeded it’s permit limits, the facility had unauthorized discharge of pollution and discharged material that led to the fish kill, according to a news release.
The violations could lead to fines for the facility. DEQ also required the facility to submit a plan that shows “long-term operation, maintenance and process changes to ensure repeat or similar incidents do not occur at this facility.”
DEQ’s investigation is continuing. According to order inspections and file reviews, on Aug. 9 the facility had an equipment failure and released “black liquor” into the wastewater treatment system and then into the Pearl River.
Black liquor is water that includes processed wood pulp used to make paper, according to DEQ. It is produced by heating and adding sodium hydroxide, which has a high pH.
This helps breakdown wood fibers, but also makes the fibers easily digested by bacteria in the water. The digestion robs oxygen of the water and suffocates fish, according to the DEQ release.