City of Lawton, Oklahoma, and Republic Paperboard approve US$15M upgrade to enhance paperboard mill's wastewater purification efficiency, address contributions to occasional odors in west Lawton; Republic to reimburse city US$100,000 for fees, other costs

Sample article from our Pulp & Paper Industry

March 22, 2023 (press release) –

Caitlin Gatlin | Communications & Marketing Manager

The City of Lawton and Republic Paperboard LLC have announced the approval of a $15 million upgrade project to Republic’s Lawton facility. Republic’s upgrades are designed to enhance its wastewater purification efficiency and to address its contributions to occasional odors in west Lawton.

Republic has also agreed to pay the City of Lawton $100,000 for reimbursement of administrative fees and other costs incurred by the City.

Republic’s mill upgrade project was designed in collaboration with and approved by the City of Lawton’s Wastewater Division. Republic’s upgrade project began in early 2022 and is estimated to take an additional 24-36 months to complete. During this time, Republic will continue to work with the City of Lawton to evaluate and implement equipment and process improvements at the mill.

"This mill upgrade project is part of Republic Paperboard’s ongoing and historical commitment to achieving the highest standards in our industry,” said Sverre Gunnarschja, Vice President of Operations at Republic Paperboard. “Republic’s goal is to ensure that our facility operates in harmony with the Lawton community, and this project will advance that goal. We are grateful for the City of Lawton’s expertise and close collaboration with Republic Paperboard as we implement these improvements that will lead to an even more positive and sustainable future."

Residents on the west side of Lawton may still smell an odor occasionally as construction continues. The City of Lawton and Republic have met to discuss interim measures and solutions to mitigate the smell. These measures include additional air monitoring, chemical treatment with automation, inline water quality analyzers, and additional dissolved oxygen during and after treatment.

“We ask citizens to have as much patience as possible during the construction phase and understand that Republic is committed to upgrading their facility,” said David Hastings, the City of Lawton’s Wastewater Plant Superintendent. “The City of Lawton will continue working with Republic to ensure long-term compliance and accountability.”

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