Industrial water use: Brunswick Cellulose paper plant, Brunswick, GA
Industrial Water Use
Georgia Pacific Brunswick Cellulose paper plant, Brunswick, Georgia, USA
The industries that produce metals, wood and paper products, chemicals, gasoline and oils, and those invaluable grabber utensils you use to get your ring out of the garbage disposal are major users of water. Probably every manufactured product uses water during some part of the production process. Industrial water use includes water used for such purposes as fabricating, processing, washing, diluting, cooling, or transporting a product; incorporating water into a product; or for sanitation needs within the manufacturing facility. Some industries that use large amounts of water produce such commodities as food, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum, or primary metals.
This paper plant in Georgia is a heavy user of water, especially groundwater, which is a valuable resource along the south Geogia coast. In the last few years, the company has reduced their need for water by employing new technology and equipment to make production more efficient.
The mill uses the water to process into pulp the 1,000 truckloads of yellow pines it gets each day. The mill reduces the logs to chips and uses the water to cook the chips into fiber. Use of groundwater has dropped from the about 55 million gallons per day in the 1970s to about 31 million gallons per day.
In the Brunswick area, saltwater contamination of aquifers has been a problem, since if water is withdrawn faster than it can be refreshed by natural rainfall, then saltwater from the ocean is drawn into the freshwater aquifer. Brunswick-area industrial withdrawals reduce pressure in the upper aquifer. As a result, the saltwater from the lower aquifer travels upward through fissures and cracks into the Upper Floridan. Over time, the intruding saltwater could contaminate public and private drinking water supplies in the area (Greg Cherry, USGS).