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Big Digester Means Big Business

CLEARWATER PAPER.jpg

Clearwater Paper is celebrating the culmination of two years and millions of dollars of work.

On Monday Clearwater Paper officials, along with local and state leaders, gathered to dedicate the pulp optimization project, with a new digester at the forefront of the celebration.

Standing at 206 feet tall, the newest digester means big things, but mostly that business is booming in the valley.

The digester is part of a $160 million project that also includes a new concrete storage tank and oxygen-based bleaching process. The system replaces 12 batch digesters and is more cost and energy efficient.

The digester has been running for a month and is producing around 1100 tons of pulp per day; that's around 150 tons more than before.

Besides taking less wood chips to create pulp, the digester means security for Clearwater Paper's 1,000 employees and the local economy.

Pulping project manager John Deuser says, "One of the key things is we were getting less competitve as Clearwater Paper in Lewiston and this secures a future for the long-term. Some of the other benefits is in terms of greenhouse gas reduction, and it will be slightly less odor to the fact this is a very contained process."

Deuser adds that the local economy also benefited during the two years it took to construct the project; during that time, there were between 50 and 200 people who stayed in the valley doing work on the project.

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