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ADEM fines Rock-Tenn $10K

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The Alabama Department of Environmental Management fined the Rock-Tenn paper mill here $10,000 for sulfur dioxide emissions violations in late 2007.

In a consent order filed earlier this month, ADEM alleges the mills&8217; continuous emission monitor indicated five consecutive three-hour periods when sulfur dioxide emissions exceeded the state limit of 152.31 pounds per hour.

Rock-Tenn &8220; stated that the cause of the excess emissions appeared to be the failure of the boiler operators following proper start-up procedure, or in responding expeditiously to alarms put into place to prevent this type of occurrence,&8221; the consent order states.

ADEM and Rock-Tenn negotiated a $10,000 settlement rather than go to court, the consent order states.

The company &8220;does not admit or deny that there have been any violations on its part, but &8230; has agreed to the terms of this Consent Order as a means of resolving all disputes in the best interests of all concerned,&8221; the order states.

But ADEM considers the violation a serious event.

Rock-Tenn &8220; did not exhibit a high standard of care with respect to following its own start-up procedures or in responding expeditiously to environmental alarms,&8221; ADEM stated in its consent order.

The emissions came from the No. 1 power boiler on two days in December 2007, ADEM stated on its Web site.

Calls to the Rock-Tenn Company headquarters in Norcross, Ga., were not answered by press time Friday.

The fine could have been worse.

The company has not been fined for air emissions in the last five years.