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Efficiency

Water

Stewards of our water resources

Water quality plays a significant role in our water management plans. It impacts how we treat the water coming into our mills and is also a major consideration in establishing the water quality levels our mills must meet before returning the water to the watershed.

All of our mills are located in watersheds with ample water supplies. But, while we have access to abundant and inexpensive water supplies, we do not take this resource for granted. To this end, we deployed a model in 2018 that helps our mills better understand the full cost of using water.

We believe that because water is a local resource, it is best managed at the facility level using site-specific strategies. Understanding the unique environmental and socio-economic characteristics of the watersheds where we operate enables us to be better stewards of water resources.

90% Approximately 90 percent of the water we use in our pulp and paper mills is returned to the watershed from which it came. A small amount remains in our products and byproducts, and the rest returns to the atmosphere through evaporation.

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Priorities

  • Managing our water use in a way that helps maintain the quantity, quality , timing and availability of local water resources.
  • Understanding the full cost of using water to empower local facility managers to use it more efficiently.
  • Sharing best practices for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our wastewater treatment systems.

Challenges

  • Getting some environmental agencies to regulate agricultural and stormwater runoff, which negatively affects industrial, municipal and recreational water users.
  • Maintaining performance given the legacy infrastructure and capacity constraints in several of our wastewater treatment systems.
  • Advancements in scientific testing and analysis to detect pollutants at very low levels are progressing much faster than new technologies to treat and remove the pollutants from our effluent.

The Risk of Oversimplifying Water

Understanding risks to our water supplies helps us better focus efforts and resources where they will do the most good. Often when people think about water risk, the first thing that comes to mind is water quantity or availability, but this is just one component. Water quality, regulatory and reputational risks also need to be considered.

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WATER MAY BE CHEAP; USING IT ISN’T

Watching water move down a river can lull us into thinking it’s as free as it is free-flowing. But this resource, which we share with our communities, isn’t free. In recent years, Domtar has taken a closer look at the costs of using water in making pulp and paper. And thanks to a variety of process improvements, we are seeing greater water efficiency and lower costs.

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A look at water usage in our
pulp and paper mills

WATER
SOURCES - 2018

TOTAL WATER USE*
(Million Cubic Meters)

*Measured as final effluent plus non-contact cooling water volume.

Reduction in discharges to water
from our pulp and paper mills since 2014

Adsorbable
Organic
Halides

AOX

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Biochemical
Oxygen
Demand

BOD

infography

Total
Suspended
Solids

TSS

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The Right Chemistry to Succeed

What do you get when you do well financially and good environmentally? Happy shareholders and a healthier planet.

There’s no shame in admitting that the primary motivation for most of our Continuous Improvement (CI) initiatives is improving our bottom line. In a competitive environment, maximizing our efficiencies and reducing our costs are part of the job. But oftentimes, lowering costs and improving environmental performance go hand in hand – that’s called sustainability.

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