Inland Empire Paper Company of Spokane Recognized for Cooperative Approach to Solving Water Quality Problems

Published Mar 19, 2014

The Washington Examiner recently published a column lauding Inland Empire Paper Company of Spokane for its efforts to reduce PCBs in wastewater.  Inland Empire Paper Company recycles old newspapers and magazines to produce paper, but discovered that PCBs that are present in newspaper ink at legal concentrations result in wastewater that cannot meet water quality standards.  Environmental Manager Doug Krapas explained, “When the EPA allows PCBs in products – from dyes used in clothing to paint and newspaper inks – the Toxic Substances Control Act maximum is 50 parts per million.  The stuff coming in is legal.  But in water – industrial waste water and municipal sewage plants – the Clean Water Act allows only 64 parts per quadrillion, more than 700 million times lower than allowed in our source materials.”

Inland Empire approached this “PCB paradox” by working with local environmental organizations to lobby for rules targeting pigments with PCBs, phasing out manufacture and imports with reasonable timelines to develop inks that won’t cause toxic pollution.  To learn more about effective toxics reduction strategies, contact James Tupper at

  • To view the column in its entirety, click here.