MALVERN, Ark. — The Anthony Timberlands, Inc (ATI) sawmill in Malvern announced that as of Saturday, January 7, they will pause operations for one month due to an "alleged petrochemical spill."
Lumber inventory levels will also be drawn down at the facility’s planer mill, which will then pause operations.
According to Steven M. Anthony, President of ATI, the decision was made based on recent action by landowners downstream, facility neighbors, and local government officials.
The sawmill will undergo a Remediation and Maintenance Plan over the next month, and then they will evaluate their options going forward.
In a memo sent out to ATI Malvern employees by Anthony, he announced that "You should know that there is a move afoot to force closure of the Malvern sawmill."
The memo went on to explain that due to an alleged massive petrochemical spill, landowners downstream of the Malvern sawmill have suffered damages to their livestock.
According to Anthony, over 99% of water discharged from ATI is rainwater, and their discharge only accounts for a minimal amount of water in Town Creek and Chatman Creek downstream.
ATI has never had any kind of large-scale petrochemical spill in the past, and employees were urged to speak up in defense of their jobs and contact their political leaders,
In 2019, 2020, and 2021, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) performed a water quality analysis on Chatman Creek and found no impairments or traces of heavy metals.
More recently, ADEQ contacted ATI about a large pile of wood waste due that the sawmill accumulated due to a collapse in the market for wood fuel.
ADEQ cited it as an "unpermitted solid waste dump”, and the sawmill will be working with them to ensure that its water permitting and management programs are in compliance with their regulations.