This story was published in the June 29, 1989, edition of the Lewiston Tribune.


Odors from the Potlatch Corp. plant at Lewiston aren’t caused by releases of chloroform, plant spokesman Michael D. Sullivan said Wednesday.

The “kind of rotten egg smell” mainly comes from hydrogen sulfide and other byproducts of the mill’s pulp and paper processes, Sullivan said. Included is methyl mercaptan, an “extremely pungent” gas, he said.

The odors are generally considered to be harmless.

“As I understand it, there may be some chloroform. But the smell most people smell is not chloroform,” he said.

Terry A. Christianson, air quality compliance officer for Idaho’s air quality division at Coeur d’Alene, said his office receives few complaints about smells from Potlatch.

Sullivan said emissions of gases are controlled in a variety of ways, such as by burning them in furnaces and kilns.

Chloroform releases are limited to some degree by those methods, although none is specifically designed to do so, he said.

Chloroform emissions will be limited as the Lewiston plant is modernized in coming years, reducing the amount of sodium hypochlorite, or bleach, used in its processes, Sullivan said.

“The main way to control chloroform is to eliminate sodium hypchlorite,” he said.