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Domtar fined after 2016 release of non-toxic substance

Salt cake coated residents’ vehicles, outdoor furniture
Domtar - Espanola
Domtar’s pulp and paper mill in Espanola

Domtar has been fined $50,000 for failing to report the discharge of sodium sulphate salt in an August, 2016, incident at its Espanola pulp and paper mill.

In a news release from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the ministry said on or about Aug. 29, 2016, the mill released the sodium sulphate salt – commonly known as salt cake – into the community.

The discharge was a result of a salt cake buildup and a resulting failure of a precipitator on a recovery boiler.

Salt cake is considered non-toxic; however, several residents in the area complained to the ministry of the white, odourless powder coating their vehicles, yards and outdoor furniture.

Domtar did not report the incident to the ministry until a day later, on Aug. 30.

As a result, the company was charged $50,000, plus a victim fine surcharge of $12,500, under the Environmental Protection Act. The company was given 60 days to pay the fine.

Located about a 40-minute drive west of Sudbury, Domtar’s Espanola pulp and paper mill has an annual paper production capacity of 69,900 short tons and an annual pulp production capacity of 327,000 tonnes. The mill is equipped with two pulp lines and two paper machines, and produces more than 200 grades of technical and specialty papers.