2021 – 2023 Mill Operations Timeline
Prior to 2020, the New-Indy Catawba mill produced mostly white paper, which was used by customers to print magazines, catalogs and similar materials. Last year, New-Indy converted portions of the mill to manufacture unbleached containerboard, which is used by customers to produce various packaging products. The mill was completely offline from May to September 2020 during the conversion process. The first stage of restarting production began in December and by February 1, 2021, the mill had restored operations. On February 8, 2021, New-Indy Catawba LLC sent DHEC a letter notifying it that New-Indy Catawba began operations of all equipment except the No. 2 Paper Machine within 15 days prior to that letter.
Week of: February 1
Week of: March 1
- Full mill odor survey conducted by external consultant
Week of: March 8
Week of: April 5
Week of: April 19
Week of: May 3
- Brought foul condensate steam stripper back into service
- Optimized calcium nitrate supplementation (split feed)
- Enhanced surface solids removal in ASB
Week of: May 10
Week of: May 24
Week of: June 7
Week of: June 14
Week of: June 21
Week of: June 28
- Continued surface solids removal and aerator repairs
Weeks of: July 12 & July 19
Week of: August 9
Week of: September 13
Week of: September 27
- CEG meeting with presentations on air dispersion modeling and community outreach
Week of: October 18
Week of: October 25
- Initiated operation of a hydrogen peroxide diffuser running the length of #1 Holding Pond
- CEG meeting with presentation on New-Indy’s Voluntary Cleanup Contract (VCC) and the environmental assessment New-Indy Catawba made just prior to its acquisition of the Catawba mill
Week of: November 15
Week of: December 13
- CEG meeting with a facility tour and presentation to media about the mill’s remediation efforts. All visitors received a full explanation of the many improvements made to the facility. These included upgrades to the wastewater treatment system and other efforts to keep hydrogen sulfide emissions minimal or zero, as they have been for months.
Week of: January 24
Week of: February 21
- CEG meeting with a presentation on misconceptions vs. reality on the New-Indy Catawba mill. Topics included air pollutants, the foul condensate steam stripper, carbon tetrachloride, methyl mercaptan, and dioxins. The presentation showed that the facility complies with state and federal air regulations, that the mill’s wastewater treatment system is closely monitored by the company and state and federal agencies to ensure compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
Week of: February 28
Week of: March 27
- Initiated oxygen addition to the primary clarifier.
- CEG meeting with NALCO employees presenting a corporate overview and explain the company’s core capabilities. They also described the technical aspect surrounding NALCO’s odor control program and other technologies being utilized at the mill that are saving water, fiber, and energy.
Week of: April 4
Week of: April 11
- Initiated ferric chloride addition to the primary clarifier underflow.
- CEG meeting with presentation from an environmental engineer on Subpart S and New-Indy Catawba’s regulatory compliance over the last two years. The presenter explained how New-Indy complies with National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) Subpart S through monthly visual inspections of the closed collection system and annual leak monitoring related to pulping condensates collection and treatment. Under the EPA’s NESHAP Subpart S, New-Indy was required to perform an initial compliance test within 180 days of the startup of unbleached operations which was conducted in June and July of 2021.
Week of: May 16
Week of: June 20
- Began operating a turbulator in the ASB, which pulls oxygen from above the water surface down a steel chute to oxygenate below the surface of water. This not only allows the dredging equipment to be primarily used in the south end of the ASB but serves the same purpose of adding oxygen to the water.
- Installed permanent PAB cover and filter system, which operates aerators continuously to ensure an adequate level of dissolved oxygen is present before effluent reaches the Catawba River.
- CEG meeting with presentation from a toxicologist provided on New-Indy Catawba’s summa cannister testing, which included analysis for methyl mercaptan. Samples for total reduced sulfur (TRS), including methyl mercaptan, were collected from three different locations over four days in four consecutive weeks in April 2022, totaling 96 samples. The analysis showed non-detect status for methyl mercaptan. New-Indy Catawba’s environmental manager summarized a June 3 weather event that caused damage to the facility and the fence-line monitoring stations. New-Indy Catawba’s response was rapid and all H2S air monitoring and meteorological stations returned to full operation by June 8.
Week of: June 27
Week of: August 22
- CEG meeting with a presentation on industrial black liquor, a byproduct of the kraft process of turning wood into pulp. The mill experienced a black liquor overflow in August 2021, causing a spike in H2S readings. The situation was quickly addressed, and air monitor readings have been zero or negligible ever since. To prevent future spills, New-Indy installed a sump system and will install a 1.2-million-gallon secondary containment tank, which will significantly increase capacity and remain empty most of the time.
- A programs director from York Technical College delivered a presentation on the school’s apprenticeship program and partnership with New-Indy. Since the apprenticeship program partnership between the Catawba mill and York Tech began in 1984, more than 250 employees have completed the program. An apprentice graduate and mill employee since 1985 shared his testimonial about working his way up to superintendent and he conveyed that the experience gained from it helped him to prepare the next generation with crucial mentoring and instruction.
Week of: October 17
Week of: November 13
- New-Indy Catawba Community Engagement Group recognized the ancestry and traditions of the Catawba Indian Nation with a presentation by a member of the local tribe at its monthly meeting. The Catawbas have lived on their ancestral lands along the banks of the Catawba River dating back at least 6,000 years. Of the 573 federally recognized tribes in the United States, the Catawba Indian Nation is the only one located in the State of South Carolina. There are currently over 3,300 enrolled members of the Nation.
- A representative from the North Carolina Forestry Association conducted a presentation on how properly managed forestry practices promote efficient carbon sequestration and help combat climate change. The forestry industry of South Carolina has a $23.2 billion-a-year impact on South Carolina’s economy and sustains more than 100,000 jobs. New-Indy supports sustainable forestry, which includes the practice of planting more trees than are harvested. As a result, there are more trees in the State of South Carolina today than there were 100 years ago.
Week of: December 12
Week of: FEBRUARY 27
- The main topic of February’s meeting was SC DHEC’s Consent Order to Correct Undesirable Levels of Air Contaminants. H2S detection levels have decreased significantly since Sept. 2021 and New-Indy will commence additional efforts to ensure odors remain negligible. The Order requires New-Indy to install two additional fence-line monitors in line of the prevailing wind direction. The mill will also perform additional air sampling on-site to test for hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide and dimethyl disulfide. New-Indy will also begin a dynamic monitoring approach by investigating other potential odor sources in the region and address odor reports within a 5-mile radius of the mill.
- Design of new steam stripper complete and application for permit submitted to SC DHEC.
Week of: MARCH 27
Week of: MAY 15
- The meeting began with a review of the CEG bylaws and a summary of New-Indy’s public affairs efforts. An engineer from the firm designing a new steam stripper for New-Indy explained the pulp digestion and condensate steam stripping processes. The new steam stripper, which is expected to be installed in 2025, will operate in parallel with the existing stripper, which will remain as a standby system for additional reliability. The new system will provide improvements in incineration flexibility, buffer capacity and improved sulfur emissions. To its knowledge, New-Indy will be the first paper mill with a dedicated backup stripper.
- Removal of legacy solids from the EQ Basin complete.
Week of: June 12
|ASB||Aeration Stabilization Basin||Biological stabilization of wastewater organics|
|CEG||Community Engagement Group||Build trust and confidence with local citizens and other stakeholders and establish an effective and regular dialogue with the local community|
|EPA||Environmental Protection Agency||US environmental agency|
|EQ Basin||Equalization Stabilization Basin||Used as a means of buffering or equalizing the characteristics of wastewater prior to entering the wastewater treatment system|
|H2S||Hydrogen Sulfide||Chemical targeted for ambient air monitoring|
|PAB||Post Aeration Basin||Final aeration polishing basin prior to discharge to Catawba River|
|PM3||Paper Machine 3||Production equipment where linerboard is made from pulp slurry|
|SCDHEC||South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control||South Carolina state environmental agency|