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Uruguay Mills: Letter of Support for Dwernychuk

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Letter from Neil McCubbin supporting arguments made by Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk on the Botnia paper mills in Uruguay.

Having worked through the project as Dr. Dwernychuk's co-author, and followed subsequent publications, I am well acquainted with the Botnia project, but have no financial connection whatsoever with Botnia.

I also support the comments by the Argentinean Academy of Engineering. Specifically, I agree that suitable monitoring of the final construction and operation of the mill is appropriate, as Dr. Dwernychuk and I said in our "Hatfield report."  

Hopefully this will involve cooperation between Argentina and Uruguay.

I would add a few points to Dr. Dwernychuk's letter:
1)  Dr. Dwernychuk stated that the mill is built to European BAT standards. In fact it is significantly better in some respects.  Botnia elected to install more powerful effluent treatment and to operate with tighter in-mill control of atmospheric pollution and effluent generation than BAT.  They also designed the system to provide electricity to the Uruguayan grid from burning wood waste, thus reducing the consumption of greenhouse gas and sulfur dioxide generating oil in the region.

2)  In response to our suggestions Botnia added backup to the odor control system (which was already designed to EU BAT standard) and arranged to treat the black liquor from the Mercedes mill, as well as the municipal sewage from Fray Bentos.  This results in a net reduction of total pollutants to the Rio Uruguay relative to the situation if the mill had not been built.

3)  Concerning odor, it will occasionally be detectable in and around the mill, but I do not think at Gualeguaychu.  In any case, the short episodes will be no more than smells noted from time to time in everyday life (passing trucks with poorly tuned engines, garbage trucks, farmer's manure etc). The odor and visible smoke will be dramatically less than that from the former meat processing plants in Fray Bentos and Gualeguaychu.

I have worked 41 years in and around the pulp industry. I am not tied to, or representing, pulp mills in any way.  As a partially retired consultant, I currently have 5 clients.  In 4 cases, I am providing advice to lawyers suing mills over environmental performance. In the other I am assisting Environment Canada in regulating a mill to reduce water pollution.

Neil McCubbin
Foster,  Quebec,  Canada
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