March 22 is World Water Day, a day dedicated to focusing on the importance of water and water-related issues. Georgia-Pacific has a multitude of facilities neighboring various bodies of water. In support of our environmental stewardship commitments, it’s imperative that we’re considered “good neighbors” by our surrounding communities. Many GP facilities have put forth significant efforts to preserve water, a vital resource. Not only does wildlife depend on clean water and healthy ecosystems, but so does our economy. Here are a few sites that have earned recognition over the years for their dedicated efforts at being better stewards of water resources.
The Fenholloway River Restoration Project
GP’s Foley cellulose mill, near Perry, Florida, is located less than 30 minutes from the Fenholloway River. The river is a small, black water stream with a watershed of approximately 392 square miles. It contains wooded wetlands in the upland, coastal marshes in the lowland and runs directly into the Gulf of Mexico. GP set a major goal of restoring the water quality of the river back to its original condition.
In 1994, Florida Department of Environmental Protection determined that “fishable-swimmable” use standards for Fenholloway was achievable, so GP got to work. After GP purchased the pulp mill in 2013, the project was put into full effect. After investing over $300 million in improvements, modifying and upgrading wastewater treatment systems, and installing a successful pipeline, GP has restored the stream. To read more about the Fenholloway River Restoration Project, click here.
Fox-Wolf River Basin
Georgia-Pacific’s Broadway mill in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was one of five local “heroes” recognized with a 2019 Watershed Hero award at the annual Watershed Celebration hosted by the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that collaborates with local business partners to help identify issues and advocate effective policies and actions that protect, restore and sustain water resources in the Fox-Wolf River Basin.
Beyond striving for 100% compliance with federal, state and local government guidelines to protect air and water, the Broadway mill invested $2 million in infrastructure to capture 100% of the stormwater runoff from its property. This stormwater collection and recycling system began in 1996 and eliminated four stormwater discharge points from entering the Fox River.
Prosperity Plywood Road Sprinkler
GP’s Prosperity Plywood Facility in South Carolina was facing an issue with their log-haul road. When vehicle traffic would cross the road, the wheels and radiator fans of the trucks sent dust airborne causing fugitive emissions. EPA defines fugitive emissions as those “emissions which could not reasonably pass through a stack, chimney, vent, or other functionally-equivalent opening.” Since South Carolina poses limitations on these emissions and requires facilities to take “necessary precautions” to reduce them, the facility had to find a solution. As an interim measure, the facility utilized a water truck to periodically water the haul road; however, this proved to be a costly long-term solution. The facility installed an irrigation system along their 0.6-mile-long log-haul road and collected and reused the storm water that flows over the facility for road dust control.
“By using the storm water, there is no added cost associated with usage for the facility” says Terry Ballance, Facility Environmental Leader. “Alternatively, the site would have had to pay the cost per gallon of water, as it would come from the local municipality. There is a major sustainability aspect here, as the stormwater collection system reduced storm water discharged from the facility between 95 to 100% , reduced labor cost and eliminated purchased water consumption needed to run this roadway irrigation system.”
Facility using stormwater to control dust.
The installation took approximately two weeks to complete, and now the closed-loop system recycles the stormwater runoff to keep the dust levels from the road under control.
These are a just a few examples of GP teams applying innovative solutions to consuming fewer resources, minimizing waste, and constantly innovating to improve our manufacturing processes and performance.