Black liquor discharge settlement checks issued

Published 8:43 am Friday, July 25, 2014

Approximately 2,000 individuals in Washington and St. Tammany parishes began receiving disbursement funds this week for property and personal claims from the Aug. 9, 2011, Temple Inland river discharge case.

The total disbursement is approximately $15.1 in settlements.

The claimants received their disbursements at Arata & Arata Law Offices on Austin Street in Bogalusa. Bill Arata declined to elaborate when asked what the disbursement checks averaged.

“The main recipients of the funds lived on or near the Pearl River from Bogalusa to Slidell, the site of the discharge,” Arata said.

Discharge from the Bogalusa mill resulted in a massive fish kill. The discharge lasted 4 1/2 days, and the mill was closed for weeks.

The mill’s wastewater treatment plant was discovered to be the reason for the massive Pearl River fish kill.

International Paper acquired the mill from Temple Inland in February 2013. IP worked with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to correct the problem with the wastewater treatment facility.

According to the mill, the Aeration Stabilization Basin Optimization Plan proposed a reconfiguration of the system that both treats wastewater before discharge and manages the solids generated by the facility operations. The reconfiguration was designed to significantly enhance the capability and performance of the ASB and to facilitate greater removal of solids.

Also, the plan provides for better overall aesthetics and for a new on-site lab and control room. In-house improvements, such as an ash-recovery system, helped to support the water treatment efforts.

According to 2013 reports, construction of the project was estimated to cost more than $50 million. The project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2015.