‘Odor incident’ leads to mill evacuation

Smell caused by presence of hydrogen sulfide in steam lines

‘Odor incident’ leads to mill evacuation

A loss of power at Georgia-Pacific in Camas led to an “odor incident,” at the paper mill on Monday.

According to Spokeswoman Kristi Ward, the mill’s operations shut down Saturday morning during the freezing weather conditions after tree branches fell onto power lines.

Mill crews continued to work on Sunday to restart operations, following the partial power outage.

On Monday morning, a stench could be detected throughout the downtown core.

“Foul condensate, which is the likely cause of the odor that was detected on-site, stayed in our steam lines due to the cold weather,” Ward said. “When we restarted our pulping process, any odor associated with this foul condensate was likely pushed out in the steam.”

At 7:30 a.m. Monday employees who were working on the mill’s paper machines, and pulping and converting areas were evacuated due to the odor. Employees have since returned to their work areas.

The pulping system was down for a total of 36 hours, Ward said on Tuesday.

The mill’s emergency response team continues to monitor air emissions at the Camas site.

“The concentrations observed have remained below the short-term permissible exposure limit for the substance most commonly associated with foul condensate odor — hydrogen sulfide, or H2S,” Ward said. “Our MERT team continues to review perimeter monitors and we have noticed the odor is decreasing. We hope it will be gone by the end of [Monday].”