June 2, 2009
Weyerhaueser company officials this morning confirmed an explosion Monday evening at the Columbus Cellulose Fiber operation.
"At about 6 p.m., a storage tank containing sodium hydroxide, known as white liquor, exploded, during an extended annual maintenance shutdown," said Kent Walker, vice president of operations and site manager at the Columbus plant.
"All the contents from the tank were contained on the plant site, as a result of the facility''s containment system, and no injuries were reported," Walker added, noting, as required, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality were notified of the incident.
An investigation to determine the cause of the explosion is under way.
Weyerhaeuser Co. employs about 1,100 in Mississippi and manages more than 750,000 acres of timberland in the state, all certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Along with the Columbus Cellulose Fibers facility, Weyerhaeuser''s Mississippi operations include modified fibers operation in Columbus, softwood lumber operations at Bruce, McComb and Philadelphia and timberlands offices at Bellefontaine, Bruce, Columbia, Columbus, Magnolia, Philadelphia, Poplarville, Scooba and Silver Creek.