The company informed the public that they use some hazardous materials in its pulp and paper manufacturing process at the Espanola plant and sent them the Environmental Emergency Notification (E2) Information, which was recently updated to meet the changes and requirements of federal legislation.
With it, the company wants to make the public aware of the steps taken by Domtar to “prevent, prepare, respond and recover from the unlikely event of an environmental emergency.”
Among the hazardous substances classified as environmental factors, the one used in the manufacturing processes at the Espanola pulp mill and which may have a potential impact on the community is chlorine dioxide. Domtar explains in the statement that the company has used this substance safely for decades.
They describe chlorine dioxide as “a yellow to green liquid that dissolves in water and is commonly used as a liquid solution for a variety of disinfection and manufacturing purposes”. They also classified it as “an inhalation hazard”.
When inhaled, the chemical can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, possibly occurring in watery eyes, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing. “Once the exposure is stopped, symptoms usually resolve quickly,” they quote in the statement.
“The health effects are based on the strength and the amount of chlorine dioxide to which the person is exposed. It dissipates in the air and degrades in sunlight, so the further distances of a release, the concentrations will be lower and the danger reduced. “
An environmental emergency could occur in the event that a large spill develops in a chlorine dioxide storage tank, but they consider this possibility very low. However, if anything happens, the public would be notified immediately and emergency measures put in place. Domtar, together with the Emergency Services Espanola, will give instructions for the population to remain inside their homes and close doors, windows, air vents and turn off any system that brings outside air to the inside.
“At Domtar, we work diligently to care for employees, the community and the environment. The best response to any emergency is prevention, which is why we follow strict safety management standards. We also believe in preparation, including working closely with the Emergency Services of the city of Espanola”.
You can see the full notification here.