DMI recognized for Environmental Excellence from Alberta Government – June 2006.

News Release
June, 2006

Alberta Government Web Site
Fourteen Alberta companies have been designated 2006 EnviroVista leaders for environmental excellence. Alberta Environment recognizes facilities with at least five years of exemplary emissions performance, an audited environmental management system and five years without any prosecutions under Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) and the Water Act.

Showcasing the good work of these industries is a great way to inspire others to improve, said Environment Minister Guy Boutilier. Every Albertan has a stake in the environment, and these companies have all exceeded our strict standards by challenging themselves to constantly improve. It’s the right thing to do.

Peace River Record-Gazette
DMI was recognized for the second year running for achieving environmental standards beyond provincial regulations at Peace River pulp mill. Brad Ledig, spokesman for Alberta Environment, said the Envirovista program was established to profile companies with good environmental standards and encourage other companies to do the same.

“Making them leaders basically encourages other companies to follow suit,”  he said. The program is not an award. It was formed by the provincial government to show industries working on their own can surpass regulations “rather than (having) a mentality where industry acts, government reacts, we encourage companies.. to be good partners in their communities,” said Ledig.

Tom Tarpey, with DMI, said the company was encouraged to enter the program because of their efforts to reduce emissions.

“We’re probably around 50 per cent below (regulated) emission levels if not more,”  he said, adding in some cases as much as 75 per cent below.

The company recently spent almost $150,000 in upgrading their odour reduction system. They have spent more than $1 million overall in the effort. They also keep tabs on their effluent.

“When it comes to the waste water side… we’re actually the second best in the country and in fact the best when it comes to nutrient discharges,” said Tarpey.

Complaints of odours from the mill have dropped from 300 complaints in 1991 to 15 last year. They have targeted to have zero odour complaints by 2008.

“We’ve done a pretty good job in bringing our odour complaints down,” said Tarpey.

There is an ongoing effort to stay on top of what concerns the community or environmentalists have about the industry, and remove the concerns from their system. “We do try to keep our ear to the ground and find out what the issues are with the stakeholders, particularly the people living around the mill,” said Tarpey.

Ledig said there are a number of categories a company must have an exceptional record in, including public disclosure. “A big part of that is they have an environmental management plan that’s available to the public. Not every company has that,” he said. The most important component is having a clean record with provincial regulators.

“Another part of that is they have to have five years running where they have no convictions or charges,” said Ledig. He said the program exists to allow companies the freedom to make their own environmentally-friendly decisions. “We’ve always had a ‘polluter pays’ system, but it’s important industries are in control in terms of doing the right things, and being proactive, and recognizing their potential impact,”  said Ledig.

DMI also use a filtration system to remove matter before returning water used in their process to the environment. Though potash is the only by-product not recycled in some way, they are required to provide an environmentally safe landfill for the waste.

Tarpey said the advances DMI has made was due to their desire to improve their record, not for the recognition. “We didn’t necessarily think we were worthy of being in this particular club, we just try to do what we think is right and try to keep up with the regulations,”  he said.

Along with industry representatives, the Envirovista program has environmental members such as the Pembina Institute on the committee.