Mysterious Ash?

Kimberly Clark seeks source of ash particles

Vicky Newman-News-Herald

Loudon County resident Mark Ludwig was back before the Loudon County Air Quality Task Force Aug. 24,  to report that the issue of "snowing" ash, apparently from the Kimberly Clark boiler, was not yet resolved.

Ludwig said the particles continue to cover his vehicle and property, although he said the plant is working, with Ludwig's help, to pinpoint the cause.

Bryan Crawford, a representative of Kimberly Clark, said the company was experimenting with different fuel mixes, in an effort to reduce the particles.

"I noted more material today than yesterday," said Ludwig, who is keeping a daily photo log of ash that falls at his home. At the request of Kimberly Clark officials,  Ludwig is washing his  black pickup truck each morning, so the extent of ash fallout is easily seen and tracked.

"I wash the truck at before 8 a.m. every morning, and at 9 a.m. it's back."

By receiving immediate feedback from Ludwig, plant officials said they can run process trials with different variables, and learn what impact the different fuels have.

Crawford said, "This (ash emission problem) is an ongoing concern, and initially we tried a fuel switch trial at the facility to alleviate the conditions that contribute to the fallout."

Crawford reported that a letter from the task force, stating concerns about the ash emissions, had been received by Kimberly Clark plant officials. "It has been routed internally to our business unit leaders," he said. Officials are attempting to pinpoint the source of the emissions and address the problem.

Ludwig also mentioned an odor problem, which he said may originate when ash from the boiler is hauled away.

Crawford said others who want to report problems they believe originate at Kimberly Clark should call the Loudon Mill, at 988-7000.