Minn. DNR retains HDR to conduct Thunderhawk EIS

In addition to environmental impact statement, firm to conduct related WWTP study for PUC...

MINNEAPOLIS, June 9, 2005 -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has retained HDR to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement for the UPM/Blandin Paper Company Thunderhawk Project in Grand Rapids, Minn. The Draft EIS is anticipated to be issued for public review in summer 2005, with the final EIS issued in fall 2005.

The Thunderhawk Project involves expanding processing capacity at the existing paper mill by more than 50%, from approximately 446,605 tons per year to an estimated 761,000 tons per year. The company will add a complete paper manufacturing line and modify an existing line, requiring the construction of supporting facilities including a new water intake structure and paper warehousing facility. The majority of the project work will take place within the Blandin Paper Mill site. If approved, the new paper machine is scheduled to go online in 2008. Anticipated construction costs are in the $700-800 million range.

The project also will require wastewater treatment facility modifications, and the Grand Rapids Public Utilities Commission has authorized HDR to conduct a separate Wastewater Treatment Facilities Modification Study, which will become a component of the EIS. The paper mill currently sends about 30 tons per day of solid waste to the wastewater treatment plant and would send 50 to 60 tons per day if the new paper machine comes online. Grand Rapids is Minnesota's fifth largest wastewater treatment plant and second largest biosolids generator. The study will look at the facility's long-term overall needs.

HDR (www.hdrinc.com) is an architectural, engineering and consulting firm that excels at complex projects and solving challenges for clients. More than 4,000 employee-owners, including architects, engineers, consultants, scientists, planners and construction managers, in over 100 locations worldwide, pool their strengths to provide solutions beyond the scope of traditional A/E/C firms. HDR has offices in Minneapolis, Rochester and Thief River Falls.

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