Holmen works on investigating soil pollution at discontinued industrial sites. This work is done in close consultation with the environmental authority.
The Swedish Environmental Code contains clear rules regulating how to deal with sites that have been contaminated by previous operations. According to one of Sweden's national environmental objectives, the presence of substances in the environment must not pose a threat to human health or the environment. Holmen regards work concerned with discontinued operations to be an important part of its sustainability efforts. Some of the Group's discontinued sites contain contaminated land, requiring studies that assess risks to the environment and health. It may also be necessary to take action. Responsibility for remediation is established following detailed assessments in terms of liability and reasonableness. Work to deal with soil contamination is currently in progress at the following discontinued sites.
In the past, Swedish sawmills customarily used various types of wood preservatives to prevent rot and insect attack in sawn timber. Several of these products later proved to be environmentally hazardous and have long been prohibited. Wood preservatives of this type were used at the Group's former sawmills at Håstaholmen, Stocka and Lännaholm. Parts of the former industrial sites are consequently still contaminated. Remediation measures were finished at Håstaholmen Sawmill in 2016. In 2017 surveys were conducted of the sediment outside the former industrial area. In 2018 measures will be decided to remove pollutants found. Soil studies and investigations into suitable remediation measures are in progress at other sawmill sites.
Discontinued sulphite mills
The soil at sulphite pulp mills is usually contaminated with substances typical of that type of operation. Waste in the form of pyrite ash arose at most sulphite pulp mills. This ash contains metals and was often used as a filler. Some mills also produced bleaching chemicals. Investigations for Holmen are under way at Strömsbruk, Loddby and Domsjö.
Discontinued mechanical wood pulp mill
At the long-discontinued Bure mechanical wood pulp mill, pulp used to be (until 1965) impregnated with a bactericidal agent that may have contaminated the soil on the site. Holmen has carried out studies of the environmental situation at and adjacent to the former industrial site. Decisions about remediation measures are expected in 2018.
Remediation measures were finished in 2016 at a decommissioned surface treatment plant in Iggesund. Treatment of the polluted groundwater at the former industrial site began in 2017.