A paper mill operating in Escanaba, Michigan, has been ordered to nearly a quarter of a million dollars in fines for pollution violations involving the Escanaba River.

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Escanaba is a beautiful part of the Upper Penninsula but also the most industrialized of all the U.P. communities.  With industry also comes waste, but where companies put their waste can also lead to trouble.

WOOD reported the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said the permit violations concern a "black liquor" release to the wastewater treatment facility at Verso's Paper Mill that resulted in fish being killed in the Escanaba River downstream of the mill.

If you have ever driven near a paper mill, they put off a terrible odor in the air, I can only imagine what any liquid waste coming from a mill would be like.

When milling paper from pulpwood, black liquor is a waste byproduct that can be used to burn as an energy source when collected properly.

Verso's Paper Mill will pay $244,451 in penalties. The company will also have to make improvements on how they handle their waste as well as making sure they do not pollute the Escanaba River or Lake Michigan where the river empties.

Several fishermen began reporting dead fish all throughout the river downstream from the paper mill. According to the DNR, there was a 3-mile area downstream from the mill that was heavily affected all the way to the mouth of the river.

It was later determined the partially treated wastewater got in the river and the oxygen was drawn from the water which caused the fish kill. At least a dozen different species were affected like bass, pike, walleye, and other sportfish.

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