Under an order proposed by state of Michigan environmental regulators, Graphic Packaging International would pay a $99,270 fine and be required to make process changes at its paper factory over alleged air quality violations

From February 2017 to May 2019, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Air Quality Division issued five Rule 901 Violations Notices to Graphic Packaging in Kalamazoo for emitting odors from its plant that “created an unreasonable interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property in the surrounding area,” according to the proposed order released by EGLE on Oct. 24.

An additional Rule 201 Violation Notice was issued in November 2020, for beginning construction of footings and foundation for two new boilers before obtaining a permit to install them. The document lists 1421 N. Pitcher as the factory’s address.

  • The proposed order would require Graphic Packaging to:
  • Follow the Nuisance Minimization Plan for Odors and prevent nuisance odors from being emitted from the plant
  • Operate the currently installed oxygenation system on the wastewater treatment system until a permanent system can be designed and installed
  • Install a permanent oxygenation system on the wastewater treatment system no later than 180 days after receiving the required city of Kalamazoo permit
  • No later than March 31, 2023, install continuous oxidation-reduction potential and dissolved oxygen monitors in the wastewater clarifier
  • No later than December 31, 2023, install a packed bed scrubber to control odors from wet well, AES building filter area, and sludge drum filter vacuum outlet area

It also includes proposed fines if additional similar future violations are found. The proposed order, including the fine, will allow the company to resolve the alleged violations, the state agency said. 

It alleges the company did not follow two air quality rules -- Michigan Administrative Code, R 336.1901 (Rule 901); and Michigan Administrative Code R 336.1201 (Rule 201). The document was submitted by Jason Wolf and Monica Brothers of EGLE.

Some of the violations were the result of investigations that stemmed from community concerns and complaints and others were the result of regular compliance inspections, EGLE said. The escalated enforcement action resulted in the proposed legal agreement, called a consent order.

The state agency will host an online information session and public meeting on Dec. 1, 2022, to talk with the public about the air quality enforcement action, proposed consent order, and to take comments on these for the Graphic Packaging International in Kalamazoo.


Originally published on MLive