GP's proposed pipeline for wastewater discharge from Palatka, Florida, pulp and paper mill continues to meet opposition as Waterways Commission in Jacksonville, Florida, calls for more studies, delay in DEP permit

LOS ANGELES , September 15, 2011 () – The Jacksonville, Florida, Waterways Commission wants the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to delay issuing a wastewater discharge permit for George-Pacific LLC's pulp and paper mill in Palatka, Florida, the Financial News & Daily Record reported Sept. 15.

The commission wants DEP to conduct more environmental impact studies before it allows the mill to discharge treated waster into the St. Johns River. It also asked DEP to look at alternatives before it issues the permit.

Additional city council committees are scheduled to consider the resolution next week, the Financial News & Daily Record reported.

The Palatka mill produces bleached and natural kraft pulp, kraft paper, consumer tissue and linerboard, according to the GP website. The mill currently releases wastewater into the smaller Rice Creek and has been working for several years on plans to build a four-mile pipeline to release the effluent into the river instead.

GP spokesperson Kelly Ferguson said Sept. 14 that the company believes the resolution's call for more studies does not acknowledged its years of work and US$200 million invested to improve effluent quality, the Financial News & Daily Record reported.

DEP water facilities manager Melissa Long said the Atlanta-based company's 2002 permit allows it to discharge into the St. Johns River.

Long added that DEP has already performed all that the commission's resolution asks for and there is no reason to repeat the studies, the Financial News & Daily Record reported.

Although GP's permit expired in 2007, it continues to operate under an extension while the new permit is being drafted.

The primary source of this article is the Financial News & Daily Record, Jacksonville, Florida, on Sept. 15, 2011.

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