ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) — A paper mill in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has agreed to pay nearly $250,000 to settle an investigation of a fish kill in the Escanaba River, state regulators said.
A “catastrophic pipe failure” at the Verso Corp. site in Escanaba resulted in a discharge of partially treated wastewater in August 2020, regulators said.
The mill generates a pollutant known as “black liquor,” which typically is burned as an energy source, the Michigan environment department said.
The river was deprived of oxygen, and fish — pike, bass, walleye and others — were killed for three miles. The Escanaba River runs for 52 miles from Marquette County to Lake Michigan.
Verso, based in Miamisburg, Ohio, will pay $244,000 in civil penalties and natural resource damages, the state said.
An email seeking comment was sent to the company Thursday.
The Escanaba mill has been making paper since 1911.
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Featured image: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is investigating an Aug. 9, 2020, incident along the Escanaba River in the Upper Peninsula. (Michigan Department of Natural Resources)