WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 28, 2019 (Washington Post) -Maryland environmental officials said they are investigating a chemical leak from a recently shuttered paper mill on the Upper Potomac River that has discolored part of the river and could harm aquatic life.
State officials suspect the seepage contains “black liquor,” a byproduct of paper manufacturing that is about as caustic as lye, along with other chemicals from Verso’s former plant in Luke, Md. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has been working with the publicly traded company since April to pinpoint the source of the leak and develop a plan to clean it up, MDE spokesman Jay Apperson said.
Verso said it’s hired a consultant to investigate.
“It is not certain that the seepage is black liquor or that the mill is the source,” Verso spokeswoman Kathi Rowzie said in an email. "We are working with the environmental consultant and the state agencies to identify the substance and where it originated. Until those questions are definitively answered, any further comment would be speculation.”
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