Domtar Sustainability: The Measure of a River

Aug 29, 2017 10:15 AM ET

Domtar 2017 Sustainability Report

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’’— may be one of the most oft-quoted mantras in business. Of course, the advice is just as important for governments. Just ask the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which is responsible for monitoring the health of the nation’s rivers and streams.

It is an ongoing challenge for this federal agency to secure the money required to maintain real-time monitoring stations across the country. Moreover, if the USGS stops executing this mission, the benefit of long-term water monitoring data is lost.

Enter Domtar. We understand the importance of real-time water quality and stream flow data.

In fact, our Plymouth Mill tracks data from the downstream USGS monitoring station as an early warning to avoid saltwater intrusion, a catastrophic event for our manufacturing operations. The mill voluntarily sends the necessary funds annually to the USGS to keep the station operating.

As Sean Egen, U.S. Geological Survey, Raleigh, North Carolina, puts it, “Domtar, along with other private, local, state, and federal partners, has been an integral partner in collecting timely and pertinent water quality data on the Roanoke River.

“In addition to helping fund the data collection effort, Domtar provides field assistance and boat transportation to our gauge on the Roanoke River, near Westover.


Our Marlboro Mill also voluntarily supports the maintenance of the USGS monitoring station located at the mill’s water intake point. The mill’s management team uses the data to optimize its removal and return of water to the Great Pee Dee River.

Of course, in addition to our mills, state and federal agencies use the information from these stations for public purposes, including flood monitoring, boating advisories and water quality management.

We think it is smart to maintain the collection and sharing of information about the health of these rivers for the long term, and Domtar is pleased to help fill the gap.


Domtar’s 2017 Sustainability Report details the company’s endeavor to take a longer term view of creating and preserving value for our shareholders, customers, employees and communities.  For more inspiring stories about Domtar's sustainability efforts, visit the Domtar Newsroom. To view the full 2017 Sustainability Report click here.