|Perdido Bay would be a beautiful bay except for the pollution from the paper mill. Listed below are the major problems caused by the paper mill
- Toxicity from the chemicals in IP's effluent including the bleaching chemicals,chlorine dioxide, which are disinfecting the bay.
Chemical Oxygen Demand has risen to 35,000 pounds per day with increasing production.
- Too much carbonaceous material discharged to the 11-Mile Creek and Perdido Bay
Carbonaceous material is measured as BOD (Biological oxygen demand) and TSS (Total suspended solids). These carbonaceous materials are degraded by bacteria which use up oxygen. Perdido Bay suffers from low dissolved oxygen especially in deeper waters The increased populations of bacteria eating the carbonaceous material pose a risk of infection to people swimming in the bay.
IP is permited to discharge 4,500 pounds per day of oxygen consuming material and on the average 8,000 pounds per day of solids.
Compare IP's discharges to a Domestic wastewater treatment plant treating effluent from 160,000 people.
A domestic wastewater treatment plant which treats waste from 160,000 people would only be allowed to discharge 844 pounds per day of oxygen consuming material and 844 pounds per day of solids
The solids IP discharges settle in Perdido Bay and also use up oxygen.
Too Much Nitrogen and Phosphorus
In order to degrade the carbonaceous material IP must add phosphorus and nitrogen to their treatment ponds. Not all of these nutrients are used up in the ponds. The results can be seen in the following pictures and graphs. IP's consultant Dr. Livingston found that ammonia nitrogen increased to high levels in the mid-90"s.
See Dr. Livingston's data
The result of increased nutrients on our beaches in the mid-90's was evident. See what increased nutrients did to our beaches
The papermill was never fined. In 2000 this algae disappeared along with all grassbeds in the bay and vegetation along the shore.
Dr. Livingston's illustration shows what happens to the food web when a body of water is overloaded with too much oxygen consuming material and nutrients.
See comparison of healthy food web and sick food web
- Chemicals which cause brown color, foam, dangerous bacteria and use up oxygen. IP is now putting nearly 50,000 pounds per day of these chemicals
Paper mill discharges into a wetland and the trees have died
The paper mill has always denied that the foam we see on Perdido Bay comes from them. Yet, this picture shows foam coming out the top of the IP foam supression tower. The fatty acids in the wood products combine with the alkali in the pulping process to produce soap.
- Lack of governmental oversight allowing damages to continue
IP is operating on a Federal permit issued in 2010. It was issued on a promise that they would meet water standards by 2015. They haven't