The builders of the bioproduct mill: “We discuss environmental matters openly”

While Tupitsa's job has taken her to countless information sessions, she has a particularly good recollection of one of these events held at Äänekoski slightly over a year ago.

“It was an information session related to the construction of the new bioproduct mill. After the event, Timo Merikallio, Project Director, tugged at my sleeve and asked me if I'd join the project as its environmental manager.”

Tupitsa, who had been working as the Regional Environmental Manager of Metsä Fibre's Äänekoski mills since 2010, did not hesitate to take up the challenge.

“It's great to be involved in the project organisation of such a historic initiative. Everyone here represents the very peak of their own lines of work.”

In her spare time, the bioproduct mill's Environmental Manager Sari Tupitsa enjoys orienteering. “Choose a clear direction and move determinedly, without detours, towards the control point. This guiding principle works as well at work as it does in the forest.” Photos: Metsä Group

Cooperation with various operators

In her capacity as the bioproduct mill project's Environmental Manager, Tupitsa's tasks include ensuring that operations comply with the conditions of the environmental permit. The work also involves drawing up and monitoring a wide range of accounts and instructions.

“It's extremely important to work in close cooperation with the environmental authorities. In the interest of getting things done smoothly, I've had the advantage of being familiar with the area and the local operators.”

The speed of the construction work and the professional skills of the builders have impressed me as well.

Cooperation with the authorities has been smooth from the very beginning of the project. The authority monitoring environmental matters is the Central Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, while the permits are issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland.

“It feels like everyone's working for the common good right now,” says Tupitsa.

The fact that operators can see the progress of the gigantic project on a daily basis makes the work particularly rewarding.

“The speed of the construction work and the professional skills of the builders have impressed me as well. And in the middle of all this, we're making pulp at full speed,” says Tupitsa.

Open and real-time communication

Ensuring that people both within and outside the mill area get enough information about environmental matters that affect them is an essential aspect of Tupitsa's work.

“We try to give out as much information in advance as possible. This reduces the need for people to draw conclusions based on rumours.”

Open information events on the possible environmental effects of the bioproduct mill's construction work have been held for local residents. Sari Tupitsa is the person people can get in touch with on environmental matters and concerns.

“People have been particularly interested in the impact of the waterways construction, given that there were occasional occurrences of muddy waters in the waterway downstream of the dredging and filling work at Kuhnamo in the autumn of 2015. People also have concerns about the increased amount of traffic.”

We try to give out as much information in advance as possible.

The symbiosis of a city and an industry

A long-term resident of Äänekoski, Tupitsa has formed a clear picture of how, in environmental matters as well, the best results are achieved through cooperation between the city and the industry that operates in its area.

“This city grew organically around the industry. We want to conduct our activities in a way that allows this smooth coexistence to continue in the future, too.”

Thanks to the long-term cooperation, the waterways downstream of the mill have developed in a clearly positive direction over the years. This is also the path on which Metsä Group wants to continue.

This city grew organically around the industry.

“For me, it is a matter of personal honour that we generate as little emissions as possible into the waterways,” says Tupitsa, who lives by the shores of Niinivesi lake.

The bioproduct mill's cutting-edge technology enables increasingly efficient operations in terms of the environment. Even though the mill's pulp production will be two and a half times larger in volume than current production, its overall emissions will not increase to any significant degree. Noise levels and air emissions are likewise closely monitored.

“The bioproduct mill will work within the framework of the old mill's permit conditions. We will have good control over phosphorus and nitrogen, in addition to which the emissions of chlorine compounds will remain at the current level. Once the mill is operational, we will also be able to reduce odour nuisance to a significant degree.”

The bioproduct mill's wastewater treatment plant is currently under construction at Teräväniemi. The conditions for the environmental permit include a new waterway monitoring programme to be initiated by Metsä Fibre.

Sari Tupitsa (47)
Place of residence: Äänekoski.
Job: Environmental Manager
Career: Before the bioproduct mill project, worked as the Regional Environmental Manager of Metsä Fibre's Äänekoski mills since 2010. A variety of environmentally focused jobs in 2000–2010 at the Äänekoski mill and for Metsä Group. 1995–2000 at the Metsä-Rauma pulp mill.
Education: Laboratory Assistant (Chemistry). MA (Chemistry), University of Jyväskylä, Department of Chemistry, Laboratory of Applied Chemistry.
Family: Partner and daughter.
Hobbies: Orienteering.

The builders of the bioproduct mill is a series of articles that introduces readers to the people bringing the next-generation bioproduct mill to life and describing their work in the biggest investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry. The builders of the bioproduct mill will be published on our website at during 2016.

Project Director Timo Merikallio was intervieweed in the first article and after that Construction Manager Pekka Salomaa, Project Coordinator Juha Pesonen, Project Services Director Ossi Puromäki, Technical Director Pertti LehmonenFibre Line Project Manager Kari Koskinen and Recovery Line Project Manager Jukka Kiuru have described their work.

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