By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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Darrel Reetz, vice president of the Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers Local 155, said he was confident the problems would be solved by about March 9.
Mill Manager Harold Norlund would not comment on the shutdown.
PORT ANGELES — Nippon Paper Industries USA was fully shut down last weekend to begin two weeks of closure for maintenance work set to end about March 9, idling almost 119 workers, a union representative said this week.
Darrel Reetz, vice president of the Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers Local 155, said Tuesday that the shutdown preparations began Feb. 18 and were completed last weekend.
A few workers are still on site. Reetz and two other workers were on the job for the Monday night graveyard shift, he said.
The electric boiler is running to keep steam coursing to the mill, he said.
Some employees were seeking temporary employment through WorkSource, the state's official site for online employment services, while others had options to sign up to work on plant maintenance, he said.
Nippon produces telephone-book paper and newspaper for publications including the Peninsula Daily News.
Resident plant manager Harold Norlund did not return calls requesting comment about the shutdown Tuesday and Wednesday.
A “spring outage” tentatively had been set for March or April to work on the plant's secondary clarifier, Reetz said.
The mill on Ediz Hook became the first of two mills on the North Olympic Peninsula to expand its biomass cogeneration plant.
The November ceremony for the 20-megawatt biomass operation drew top company officials from Japan and Port Angeles native U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, whose 6th Congressional District includes Clallam and Jefferson counties.
The Port Townsend Paper Corp. has delayed its $55 million cogeneration plant until this year or 2015. That plant is expected to produce 24 megawatts.
Cogeneration plants burn woody debris to generate electricity for sale and steam for making paper products.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at email@example.com.