Lagoon being dredged before start-up

Contract talks aren’t over but the striking Communications, Energy, and Papermakers union has agreed to let contractors cross the picket lines in order to dredge the basins at the mill’s lagoon on Eighth Street.
Work was to start today after Abitibi-Consolidated went out for quotes on the project last week, environmental director Gary Rogozinski noted, adding the process normally was contracted out.
Mill manager Jim Gartshore said this will help when the company begins start-up at the mill once the strike is over.
There are two basins–each about 120’x1,200’x10’–at the lagoon for solid matter such as fibre and lime. One is normally used as a settling basin while the other one is reserved as a spill basin in case there are problems at the mill.
That way, the effluent can be pumped through for treatment slowly, Rogozinski explained.
“Right now, we have one full basin,” Gartshore said Monday from Montreal, adding they wanted it empty as a precautionary measure before start-up.
And the longer they’re down, the more risk they run of encountering problems during start-up, Gartshore warned. The mill has been shut down since the strike began June 15.
“If we don’t have it available, then you’re looking at having to shut down the mill [if there are problems],” echoed Rogozinski. “We’re not anticipating any problems but we’ve been down for so long, it’s hard to tell.”
The process, which includes transporting the matter to the industrial landfill site, is expected to take four to six weeks to complete.
“I’m hoping they’ll get it done in four,” Rogozinski said.
The lagoon normally is dredged once a year. It was slated to be done earlier this summer but the strike prevented that.
Gartshore said he was pleased at the co-operation between the company and union on this matter.
Cecil Makowski, CEP administrative vice-president for the Ontario region, could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the two sides are slated to begin main table negotiations, which revolve around key monetary issues, Oct. 6 in Montreal.
The company and the two striking CEP locals here reached a tentative agreement on local issues last Wednesday.