UPM issues statement after Aug. 16 alkaline leak in storage area of Paso de los Toros pulp mill; UPM has taken all measures to prevent similar future incidents, will implement all necessary actions, including monitoring, as instructed by authorities

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October 6, 2023 (press release) –

On August 16, 2023, UPM was notified of an alkaline leak in the storage area of our Paso de los Toros pulp mill in Uruguay, which had led to abnormal water colour and fish mortalities in a creek that runs through the mill site and the bordering field. The leak was caused by defects in the stormwater control basin of the chemical storage and unloading area of the mill.

The leak led to the presence of sodium hydroxide and therefore high pH values in the water of the creek. The water quality was also affected in the zone in which the creek runs into the Río Negro river, but to a lesser extent.

UPM immediately took the applicable corrective measures to address the situation and prevent any further leakage. We informed the environmental authorities and the mill neighbours of the incident and published an announcement on the UPM Uruguay website.

The pH value of the affected watercourses returned to normal levels within a few days. UPM and the Uruguayan environmental authority DINACEA have investigated the causes and consequences of the incident, and UPM will implement all the necessary actions, including monitoring, as instructed by the authorities. We have also taken all measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. UPM expects to receive monetary sanctions imposed by the authorities in line with Uruguayan legislation.

UPM strongly regrets this incident and takes it very seriously. Our environmental management processes, controls and monitoring worldwide are rigorous, and this type of incidents are very rare in our operations. 

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Jason Irving
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