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WestRock in Evadale to receive 'notice of violation' after complaints about 'ash-like substance' on surrounding properties

The TCEQ says the company won't receive any penalties or fines
Credit: KBMT

EVADALE, Texas — The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says a 'nuisance condition' was confirmed during its investigation into an 'ash-like substance' near the WestRock facility in Evadale. 

The TCEQ says it received complaints about the substance 'impacting complainants properties' on Sept. 5. 

An investigation report hasn't been completed yet, but the group says a 'notice of violation' will be issued to WestRock for creating nuisance conditions. That doesn't include any fines or penalties. 

According to the TCEQ, WestRock said a power outage following Hurricane Laura affected its 'aeration basins' and excessive nitrogen was produced. That created a foam that was seem on the company's property and off-site. 

Over the weekend, WestRock used a defoaming agent, sprinkler system, and a de-dredger to help reduce the foam according to the TCEQ. 

RELATED: Four employees of WestRock paper mill in Evadale test positive for COVID-19

From TCEQ: 

On Sept. 5, 2020, TCEQ investigated complaints of an ash-like substance from Westrock impacting the complainants’ properties. An ash-like substance was documented on those properties and the same substance was observed floating around the facility property. Westrock stated that due to a power outage as a result of Hurricane Laura affecting the aeration basins, excessive nitrogen was produced, creating foam that was seen blowing throughout the property and off site. The facility initiated additional actions over the weekend to reduce the foam, including utilizing a defoaming agent, a sprinkler system, and a de-dredger.The investigation report is not yet completed, however, a nuisance condition was confirmed during the investigation. As a result of the investigation findings, a Notice of Violation will be issued to the facility for creating nuisance conditions. An NOV documents the violations discovered during the investigation, specifies a time frame to respond, and requires documentation of compliance. An NOV does not contain any fines/penalties. The region will track corrective actions through completion.