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Old Town pulp mill to pay $100,000 after chemicals spill into Penobscot River

The Nine Dragons Paper Mill in Old Town.
Nina Mahaleris
The Penobscot Times/BDN
The Nine Dragons Paper Mill in Old Town.

The company that owns the Old Town pulp mill will pay the town just over $100,000 to settle violations tied to a chemical spill into the Penobscot River, according to a pending agreement.

Over several days in 2020 and 2021, roughly 30,000 gallons of diluted sodium hydroxide were spilled at the Old Town mill. The chemicals flowed through a compromised floor drain and then entered the ground and groundwater, making its way into the Penobscot river.

In 2022, a spill of the same chemical was observed at the mill. The company estimates that over 30 days, roughly 1,000 gallons were spilled.

Old Town will be compensated by the Illinois-based ND Paper, according to the pending agreement.

The town will put the money toward a $450,000 culvert replacement project.

Kaitlyn Budion is Maine Public’s Bangor correspondent, joining the reporting team after several years working in print journalism.