Paper mill soon to be greenest in nation -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Paper mill soon to be greenest in nation

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

LOWNDES COUNTY, GA (WALB) –A paper mill in South Georgia will soon be the most environmentally-friendly plant in the country.

The Packaging Corporation of America is expanding and upgrading its Lowndes County operation.

But by the end of the 2011, they'll be able to power the plant using primarily it's own byproducts instead of fuel.

These are two of the three outdated boilers that will be replaced at the paper mill.

"Those upgrades will be to replace those three boilers with one modern energy efficient boiler that utilizes black liquor which is a byproduct of our pulp production," said Mill Manager David Carmon.

Construction workers are preparing to lay the foundation for the new recovery boiler.

"We'll use the steam that comes off that boiler and use it in a new turbine we're purchasing and that turbine will drive a 53 watt generator," said Carmon.

He says that generator will supply all their electrical needs and that they'll be self-sufficient.

"The fuel coming from our byproducts, off our process or purchase waste that we get, as far as supplementing the bark that comes off our trees," said Carmon. "We'll buy a little fuel but it will be very little."

From an industrial standpoint, Brad Lofton says PCA is the largest tax payer in the county.

 "They have a tremendous amount of economic impact and so the construction will be over in two years but that two year economic impact will be about 370 million," said Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority Executive Director.

Some of that impact will come from 300 workers with a payroll of $100 million eating and staying in hotels in Lowndes County.

Lofton says the paper mill has an economic impact of $350 million each year.

"PCA buys almost $100 million a year in local product between wood and chemicals and other chemicals in manufacturing products," said Lofton.

He says they're going from having the oldest equipment to the most state of the art equipment, making the plant the most environmentally friendly in the country.

The changes at the plant won't affect the level of staffing.

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