This is in response to Ernie Millhouse’s letter to the editor in the June 7 Missoulian in which he accused the pulp mill of opening the discharge valve wide open at night.
I was responsible for the wastewater treatment system at the pulp mill and we never intentionally increase the discharge at night. The mill had to meet a strict color standard in the river and we had to sample the river daily both upstream and downstream to demonstrate compliance.
Because the river is extremely variable during high flows, we were conservative on the discharge to avoid violation of the five-color unit standard. If we had increased the discharge during the night, we would have been faced with a color violation the following morning.
The mill’s track record for meeting the wastewater standards was very good.