TICONDEROGA — More than 700 contractors are expected to start arriving soon for the three-week annual maintenance shutdown at International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill.
The mill won’t be making paper once the shutdown begins on Sunday, April 7, but no one will be laid off, mill Communications Manager Donna Wadsworth said.
“It’s all hands on deck. There will be plenty to do. New equipment will be installed, repairs made and inspections completed.”
During a recent annual outage-preparedness review, the mill hosted groups representing IP corporate technology and the firm’s Center of Excellence.
The mill team presented them with detailed outage plans, including the schedule, budget, list of contractors, manpower available, quality assurance, environmental plans, safety plans and capital projects, Wadsworth said.
“Preparation for the outage is in full swing.”
Following the daylong planning session, Outage Coordinator Daniel Diehl issued a release that said everything is in place.
“We are committed to delivering a safe, on-time and successful outage, and I greatly appreciate the excellent planning and preparation that is taking place to assure our success.”
NO NATURAL GAS YET
The mill is preparing to convert its boilers to fire from natural gas instead of the fuel oil used now, but Wadsworth said that work won’t start yet.
“No natural-gas outage work this year. We’re continuing to engineer the (gas) project and working with an environmental consultant in preparation for permitting.”
Vermont Gas plans to extends a natural-gas pipeline from Middlebury, Vt., to the mill, a distance of about 10 miles, including a section under Lake Champlain.
The mill, which employs about 700 workers, sits on the shore of the lake in Ticonderoga.
The additional 700 contract workers will rent rooms locally and as far away as Glens Falls but won’t all be in town at the same time.
“This year, for the first time, the Hot Biscuit Diner (of Ti) will set up on the mill site as a vendor serving breakfast and lunch to contractors and employees,” Wadsworth said.
“They (shutdown workers) come to work early. They don’t have time to leave for a meal.”
She said workers will also patronize local businesses and area restaurants during the outage.
“The mill’s annual outage has a significant economic impact on area businesses. As always, area motels, hotels and rentals will be filled by contractors during the outage. Area restaurants will be busy.
“The hospitality shown to visiting contractors in our community is greatly appreciated,” she said.
There may be more noise than usual coming from the mill because of all the work, Wadsworth cautioned.
“During the outage, area residents may be aware of increased noise from steam venting and vehicle and equipment (backup) alarms. We will do everything on our part to minimize noise.”
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