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.
Many years ago, Swedish sawmills customarily used various types of wood preservatives to prevent rot and insect attack in wood products. 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 2018, a decision was made on measures to remove the pollutants found in the sediment outside the former industrial area. In June 2019 the Land and Environment Court granted a permit for the proposed measures. The contaminated sediment began to be dredged in late 2019.
Investigations into suitable remediation measures are in progress at the 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. A decision on remediation measures is expected in 2020.
Remediation measures were finished in 2016 at a decommissioned surface treatment plant in Iggesund. Work to treat the polluted groundwater at the former industrial site has been in progress since 2018.
A fibre sludge landfill site in Kvillsfors has been surveyed. Sludge containing PCBs (from copier paper) was taken from Nyboholm Mill and dumped at the site. Holmen has investigated the environmental situation at the landfill site. The County Administrative Board is expected to announce in 2020 how they want to proceed with the matter.
Holmen owned and ran the foundry at Hults Bruk between 1944 and 1988. Over the years, the factory produced various types of cast metal products. Norrköping Municipality has ordered Holmen to examine a casting sand landfill on the site to establish any risk of contaminated substances leaking out. Holmen investigated the landfill site in 2019 and proposed minor measures to stabilise it. The municipality is expected to respond in early 2020.