Case Study

Paper Mill Saves 31 Million Gallons of Water Annually

Simple changes to just eight showers enables a mill focused on sustainable operations to slash water consumption


A national paper and packaging company, committed to improving sustainability across all its divisions and plants, has encouraged local managers to be proactive and look for ways to reduce use of natural resources and minimize waste. One paper machine superintendent did exactly that and contacted us to evaluate the showers on a single machine to determine how water use could be reduced.

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Our local spray expert conducted an audit of all the shower nozzles on the machine, documenting placement, flow rate and condition. After compiling the information, we decided to focus initially on the former section and lubrication showers. These showers, used primarily for wetting, typically receive less attention than showers that can have a direct impact on paper quality.

The initial assessment determined many of the shower nozzles were using more water than necessary to achieve adequate wetting. By downsizing the nozzles, water use could be reduced significantly.

Replacing more than 250 nozzles on just eight showers has reduced water use by 31 million gallons. The mill is now saving more than $93,000 annually on water, energy and treatment costs. In addition, using less water for wetting has improved performance in the press section. Drying time and energy use have both decreased. The mill recouped its investment in the new nozzles in approximately four weeks. The data collected during the audit is currently being evaluated to identify other showers where water use can be reduced without a degradation in paper quality. Mill management is more committed than ever before to improving operational sustainability now that they’ve experienced how small changes can deliver dramatic results.

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