March 15, 2005
Mercury Leakage in Drainage at Nakoso Mill and Measures Taken
Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.
An examination of the water quality of the Hiruta River by Iwaki City detected 0.0053mg/L (the environmental standard is 0.0005mg/L or less) of mercury, attributable to drainage from Nakoso Mill (Iwaki City, Fukushima; General Manager: Hironori Iwase) of Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.
Iwaki City conducted an on-site inspection on March 2, revealing that drainage from the Nakoso Mill contained mercury, although the content did not exceed the environmental standard value for wastewater. It was also found that the origin of mercury was drainage from a device (called a "scrubber") for washing exhaust gas from boilers.
As an urgent response, we enhanced wastewater management by installing equipment based on activated charcoal to remove mercury, in a drainage pipe from the scrubber.
As a result, it was confirmed that the water quality of the Hiruta River satisfied the environmental standard when the City determined the mercury level on March 3.
In addition, there is a high possibility that mercury-contaminated woodchip was mixed with woodchip used as fuel for boilers, which affected drainage. We also received instructions from the government in connection with this matter. Accordingly, we have suspended the use of woodchip since March 7.
The mercury level in drainage from the mill is currently within the environmental standard, according to our measurements.
To understand the causes of the pollution and to take appropriate action, Nippon Paper Industries will conduct a comprehensive investigation and will deal with this matter based on the instructions of the government.
We would like to take this opportunity to issue an apology for any concern we have caused. We will continue to give full consideration to the environment in our business activities.