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.


LATEST NEWS

Industry Benchmarking Survey
Based on member feedback, we will conduct the Profile Study every two years, instead of annually, because product properties are not expected to change significantly in one year. The next Profile Study will be initiated this December for first-quarter ’25 sampling. All past Survey reports can be accessed at this member-only page.

2024 Winter Webinar
On January 25th, we held a webinar on Waste Reduction through Separation and Upcycling, presented by Drew Kinsel, Upcycling Product Manager at Kadant Black Clawson. Webinar slides and recording are available to RPTA members only at this web page, along with materials from other past webinars.

2024 Production-Technical Seminar
We held this year’s P-T Seminar on April 29 and 30, at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. Session topics were:

  1. Safer Operations
  2. Process Monitoring
  3. Multiply Machine Operations
  4. New Recyclable Packaging Developments

Presentations are available at this member-only page.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Summer Webinar
Inline Freeness Measurement
Wednesday, July 24th at 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., Eastern
Presented by Jason Shipman and Tyler Spivey, BTG. Moderated by Al Linn, Westrock.
Registration Link

Educational Event Topics Planned
Based on member polling, the RPTA Operating Board will be organizing educational events for the next year on these topic categories:

  1. Safer operations
  2. Solid waste reduction
  3. Ways to improve paper properties
  4. Wet end chemistry
  5. Grades and quality of recovered fiber

Please, let RPTA Staff know if you know of a qualified speaker on one or more of these topics..