||Sources of PCBs in the Fox River|
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Such a method was demonstrated successfully by him in 1950, using microcapsules
of a waxy material to enclose a colorless dye dissolved in PCBs.
This material was made as an emulsion and could be coated onto the back
side of a sheet of paper. A second special reactive coating
was then put on the front side of a second sheet of paper.
Impact on the front sheet would rupture the capsules and allow the dye
to react with the coating on the front of the second sheet, thereby leaving
an image. Because the capsules were fragile, special coating
methods, such as air knife coaters, were required to produce the paper.
Appleton Coated Papers was one of a very few coaters that had the
necessary equipment and skill to handle the emulsion.
At least four types of coating operations were used to make NCR Paper. Coated Back (CB) paper was used as the front sheet in a form and consisted of paper coated with the PCB containing emulsion on the back of the paper. Coated Front (CF) paper was used for the back page of a form and was coated on the front side with the reactive coating that did not contain PCB. Coated Front and Back (CFB) was used for middle pages in a form and was coated with reactive materials on the front and PCB emulsion on the back. Self Contained (SC) paper was coated with both layers on the front side of the paper and was meant to be used as a second sheet in a form and could be used with any type of paper as the cover sheet. Only CB, CFB and SC paper used PCB in the coating material.
Carbonless copy paper production increased nearly exponentially during the 50s and 60s. By 1971, Robert Shade, of Shade Information Systems, Inc., estimated that 7.5% of all office forms produced up to 1971 were carbonless copy paper. (“NCR Paper” will refer to carbonless copy paper produced using PCB emulsions during the period of 1954 to early 1971.)
NCR Paper made with PCBs contained up to 3.4% PCB by weight. PCB got into mill discharges primarily through the direct recycling of “broke” material (trimmings) coming directly from the manufacture of NCR Paper, or recycling of post-consumer waste paper that contained some NCR Paper. In addition, some PCB losses occurred in the NCR Paper coating operation ( as they do in any paper coating operation). The Appleton Coating Mill discharged to the Appleton public sewage treatment plant, which in turn discharged PCBs to the Fox River.Data shows many types of paper products manufactured during the 60s and 70s contained significant amounts of PCB because they were manufactured in part with fiber derived from NCR Paper broke. In addition, post consumer paper contained some NCR Paper thrown out with discarded files and also inks on some papers containing PCBs. All these sources contributed to PCB release.
PRODUCTION RELEASES OF PCBS --- NCR Paper production occurred in the Fox Valley primarily at Appleton Papers -Appleton Coated Mill. A second mill located in Ohio also produced NCR Paper and NCR split PCB emulsion to the 2 mills. Data indicates that the yearly amount sent to the Appleton mills ranged from 26% in 1954 to a high of 71% in 1969. The overall usage indicated that just over 65% of the PCB emulsion was used at the Appleton Coated Papers facility. A few other facilities also began or experimented with manufacture of PCB-based carbonless copy paper around 1965. However, total production of carbonless copy paper at these facilities was small compared to Appleton Coated and the Ohio mill.
The percentage of PCB in the emulsion varied somewhat, but was consistently
at or near 57% PCB by weight. Between 29.6 and 30.2 million
pounds of PCB came to the Fox Valley in the emulsion. All of
this PCB was Aroclor 1242. Assuming a 3% to 5% range of loss
during production results in 28.7 million pounds coated on paper and broke
with 888,000 to 1.5 million pounds lost to sewers during production.
The Wisconsin DNR estimates that after wastewater treatment the PCB discharges
to the Fox River due to production losses ranged from 81,000 kg to 138,000
kg. (178,572 lbs. to 304,235 lbs)
Releases of PCB from the use of broke depended on four primary factors:
1. The fraction of Broke produced in the Valley that was deinked and recycled in the Valley and by whom.Most if not all of the NCR Paper broke likely was deinked and recycled in the Fox Valley. A substantial amount of deinking capacity was available in the Valley and shipping costs would have made it uneconomical to ship the broke material to distant mills. Equally likely is the possibility that NCR Paper broke produced outside the Valley was shipped into Fox River Deinking mills. The movement of NCR Paper broke to other locations undoubtedly accounts for PCB sediment deposits in several other areas around the country.
The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources estimates that total cumulative PCB discharges between 1954 and 1998 were in the range of 420,000 to 825,000 lbs. Over 98% of the PCB loads were discharged to the river prior to 1972, with the highest years being 1969 and 1970.
Most paper recyclers on the Fox River reduced their wastewater PCB levels to non-detectable levels by the 1980s, but the Fort Howard Paper Company (which merged into Fort James and now Georgia Pacific) continued to discharge significant quantities with wastewater from its Green Bay mill, at a rate of roughly 50 pounds of PCBs yearly in the 1980s. This mill uses more lower-grade mixed post-consumer waste paper than other mills, which makes it more susceptible to PCB contamination as homes and offices dump old paper files still contaminated with PCBs. In the 1990s, Fort Howard improved its wastewater treatment and PCBs are mostly non-detectable now. (Unfortunately, we are still concerned about continued PCB releases to the air via paper mill sludge landspreading or sludge dryers and incinerators in the Fox River region.)
(All but the last paragraph is condensed from information contained in: “Fox River and Green Bay PCB Fate and Transport Model Evaluation, Technical Memorandum 2d, Compilation and Estimation of Historical Discharges of Total Suspended Solids and PCB from Fox River Point Sources, Draft” by Dale J. Patterson, Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, June 3, 1998. 30 pps & appendices.)
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