Environmental activities in 2017
The year began with a wide-ranging dialogue with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency concerning the upcoming BAT conditions.
Responses to the draft guidelines have been submitted by the Swedish Forest Industries Federation and by Holmen Paper.
The final guidelines have not yet been issued by the agency.
The fibre sludge and biosludge that is extracted at the mill’s wastewater treatment plant is composted north of the mill (Norra plan). The composting process has been improved over the year and sales of the composted product, fibre soil reinforcement, have risen.
Work on capping of the Rya landfill continued during the year, and altogether around 80 per cent of the total surface has now been covered. Plans for 2018 include moving the road up to the landfill, and final coverage should be completed in 2019. The final finishing touches are planned to be performed in 2020.
The closure plan submitted back in 2011 for Ehnsjö 3, the mill’s landfill site for dredging material, was rejected by the County Administrative Board. Holmen appealed against the decision at the Land and Environment Court, which referred the case back to the County Administrative Board. A new dialogue concerning the case has now begun.
All limits for emissions to water were complied with. However, the monthly guide values were exceeded on several occasions over the year. Hallsta’s margin for meeting the consumption condition for complexing agents is very small and several improvement measures have been implemented over the year. Holmen is also in dialogue with the supervisory authority about this case, since the condition applies to the amount consumed rather than the amount discharged, which brings dubious environmental benefits.
Over the year, work has continued on implementing new environmental and quality standards and on rolling out changes successfully across the business. A key area where the mill is working on improvements is a continued focus on targets, including the drawing up of critical success factors and action plans, plus active follow-up of targets. One important area with room for improvement is the need to get more people involved and establish even broader commitment to the work on targets.
Permits for operation
Hallsta Paper Mill holds a permit for its operations granted under the Environmental Code in 2000. There has been a separate permit for the composting of sludge for fibre soil reinforcement and storage of bark at Norra plan since 2015. Norra plan is an area previously used for storing wood.
Hallsta Paper Mill also has three water judgments from 1930, 1955 and 1979 governing the permit to source process water from the nearby lake system.
Hallsta Paper Mill has been covered by the rules on fossil carbon dioxide emissions trading since 1 January 2005. The mill holds a permit for emissions of greenhouse gases for the current trading period 2013–2020.
Since the 2015 Environmental Report, the mill’s outcomes and status have been reported in relation to current BAT conditions. These conditions will be rigorously applied from autumn 2018.
The environmental management system has been certified to ISO 14001 since 2001.
The energy management system has been certified to SS 62 77 50 since 2005 and to the new international standard ISO 50001 since 2011.
The health and safety management system has been certified to OHSAS 18001 since 2012.
Holmen Paper Hallsta has held certification for the traceability of wood raw material since 2007 and for biofuel since 2016 (chain of custody).
All products from Hallsta are approved to carry the EU Ecolabel.
A preliminary project to draw up a proposal for a more cost-effective and better process solution for wastewater treatment was carried out during the year.
Work on creating better conditions to optimise energy use within the process continued over the year, with new main motors being installed in key locations in the TMP factory.
A number of chemical trials aimed at reducing energy use or environmental impact have also been carried out. One such trial involved the dosing of sulphite to facilitate the refining process and so reduce energy consumption. Chemical trials have also been carried out with alternative complexing agents in an attempt to reduce the environmental impact on water. The results of these trials have been partially successful and their analysis will continue in 2018.
Disruptions to production and complaints
The guideline values for certain parameters were exceeded on two occasions, in spring and autumn, and these cases were reported to the County Administrative Board. They were caused by an imbalance in the system for dosing nitrogen and phosphorus during the spring and sludge escape in the autumn. This did not prompt any further demands for action.
Due to continued complaints from local residents north of the mill about unpleasant odours, the County Administrative Board ordered measurements of emissions to air and dispersal calculations to be carried out. The measurements showed that the emissions are not harmful. Having considered the action taken, the County Administrative Board has decided to close the case and not demand any further action from the company.
Following an extremely dry summer, water levels have been unusually low and a number of comments have been received from local residents. However, the mill has not had any problem complying with current water judgments by a good margin, while at the same time ensuring a stable water supply. During the autumn, the water level returned to normal.
Follow-up of environmental and energy targets in 2017
In 2017, there was a target to make more efficient use of resources and to increase capacity utilisation on the production lines. The utilisation of capacity has a major impact on resource efficiency in terms of energy, water and chemicals. The outcome for the efficiency of the factory’s paper machines was very good during the year, with Quarters 2 and 4 in particular seeing very high utilisation of capacity on both paper machines, enabling the target to be reached.
The specific energy target for 2017 was to lower total specific energy consumption by 1 per cent compared with the outcome for 2016. Although there was a slight reduction, it was not possible to achieve the target, in part due to delays in the installation of new and more energy-efficient equipment.
An internal target for Hallsta Paper Mill is for emissions to be kept 20 per cent below the current limits. The mill has limits for emissions to water of suspended solids, organic material, phosphorus, nitrogen and EDTA (complexing agent). The target of a 20 per cent margin below the current limits was achieved for all parameters except consumption of EDTA.
Planned environmental and energy measures in 2018
The replacement of motors in TMP will continue in 2018. The purpose of the motor replacements carried out in recent years has been to increase production on selected lines and so reduce specific electricity use. It is estimated that replacing a total of five motors in TMP 3 will cut electricity use by 40–50 GWh per year.
An investment in better control of debarking on the wood line is planned for 2018. This will deliver better use of resources through higher yields.
Implementation of the above plan for process improvements in wastewater treatment will start in 2018.
Environmental and energy targets in 2018
Work will continue in 2018 on making more efficient use of resources, with a focus on increasing utilisation of capacity in the pulp mills and on the paper machines.
The mill’s total specific energy consumption will also continue to be monitored as an overall objective. A further 1 per cent decrease in energy consumption is the target, and implemented energy saving measures will be followed up.