Explosions Due to Hydrogen and Hydrogen Sulfide Build-up

As paper mills have begun to close up their water systems and move toward zero effluent discharge, they are finding that closing a mill’s water system can lead to changes in a mill’s water chemistry. These can include a build-up of nutrients which can increase the amount of microbes in a mill’s system. In the absence of oxygen that might be found in tanks, chests, and pipes, anaerobic bacteria can thrive.

When certain types of anaerobic bacteria break down the organic material found in a mill, hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen gases can be formed and released. One group of anaerobic bacteria, sulfate-reducing bacteria or SRB, produce hydrogen sulfide gas as a byproduct of their metabolic process. Other anaerobic bacteria, including clostridia, produce hydrogen gas as a byproduct of their metabolic processes.

Both these gases, if present in sufficient amounts, can be a safety concern — particularly for explosions — in a paper mill. Monitoring for these gases can help detect harmful levels of the gases before incident occurs.

RPTA issued Technical Bulletin 16, Hydrogen and Hydrogen Sulfide Gases, which provides guidance on monitoring for these gases.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board issued a Bulletin that provides guidance on hot work in such areas.


RPTA Announces Recipients of
2022 Scholarships

Click here for details.

2022 Industry Profile Study
Registration is now open for the 2023 Annual Physical Properties Benchmarking Study.

The 2023 study will include the following grades:

  • Coated Recycled Paperboard: 16, 20, 24, 28 & 32 point
  • Bending Chip: 16, 20, 24 & 28 point
  • High-Strength Tube and Core: 20, 25 & 30 point
  • Linerboard: 26# & 42# and 31# & 35# High Performance (with at least 90% recycled content).
  • Medium: 23 #, 33# & 40# (with at least 50% recycled content.)

If you have not received the required registration and sample submission forms, along with sample requirements, then click here to download the three documents. Samples must be received by RPTA between March 1, 2023 and April 7, 2023

Members can access reports from prior years at this member-only page.

2022 P-T Seminar
Presentations from the May Production-Technical Seminar, are available at this member-only page.

Summer 2022 Webinar
On July 13th we held a webinar on Making Product Suitable for Food Contact. The webinar recording and presentation slides are available at this member-only page.

2022 RPTA Fall Roundtable
On October 19th, we held an in-person seminar on Paper Machine Clothing Design, covering the impact of forming, press and dryer fabrics on paper machine operations. The webinar presentation slides are available at this member-only page.


Winter Webinar (Jan or Feb)
Felt Cleaning and Conditioning
Details to follow.

2023 P-T Seminar (April)
The 2023 Production-Technical Seminar will be held in Atlanta on April 24 and 25, co-located with TAPPICon. RPTA members selected these seminar topics:

  1. Safer Operations
  2. Fiber Recovery Optimization
  3. Process Data Best Practices
  4. Wet End Operations

The Seminar will be moderated by Jeff Lyman, VP Mill Operations, Ox Industries and Mark Murphy, General Manager, Westrock,

Registration and hotel arrangements are managed through TAPPI and details will be communicated as they become available.