A Louisiana paper mill is facing penalties and fines because polluted water from the plant killed thousands of fish in a local river.


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_The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality late Monday put a Bogalusa paper plant on notice that it is liable for a massive fish kill in the Pearl River, setting in motion the legal process for potentially issuing penalties and fines, the agency said. DEQ issued a compliance order and a notice of potential penalty to Temple-Inland for its role in the incident that clogged the Pearl River through Washington and St. Tammany Parishes with thousands of dead fish last week.

DEQ said the plant, also known as the Bogalusa Paperboard Mill, discharged “black liquor,” a byproduct of the paper-making process, into the river during a plant malfunction beginning Aug. 9. The black liquor triggered the fish kill. The compliance order slaps the plant for not notifying authorities in a timely manner of the malfunction and discharge, for exceeding its discharge permits and for an unauthorized discharge. The company must also submit a plan that shows “long-term operation, maintenance and process changes to ensure repeat or similar incidents do not occur at this facility,” DEQ said. DEQ has said it didn’t find out about the fish kill until Aug. 13, when a reporter called the agency to inquire about it. DEQ said its scientists were in the field eight hours before Temple-Inland notified the agency.