I would like to address comments made in a letter to the editor on March 11, “Preserve our drinking water,” from William A. Fontenot. In his letter, Fontenot made claims about water use at Georgia-Pacific’s Port Hudson mill that are inaccurate.
Our mill draws about one-third of its process water needs from the shallow portion of the Southern Hills Aquifer System, which is not part of the Baton Rouge area drinking water aquifer. This water is lower in quality and must be processed before use. The water that is sprayed on logs is from these shallow wells and is collected, recycled and reused many times over. In addition, we draw another third of our process water from the 2,800-foot sands, which is not considered under stress.
Water is a critical resource for individuals and families and for businesses in the Baton Rouge area. Recognizing this fact, our mill has taken numerous steps to minimize water use as part of our commitment to being a valued member of the community. During the past 20 years, we have instituted several projects that have reduced our water use by 20 percent.
We consistently evaluate additional reduction, reuse and recycling projects that will help in conservation efforts. It takes a continual financial investment and conservation commitment to grow the business and provide local jobs without growing water use.
The citizens of Baton Rouge deserve good and accurate information about our groundwater resources and uses. Information can be obtained from the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation Commission or the Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation.
Patty Prats-Swanson, public affairs manager