Celgar says equipment failure won’t affect production next week

The chip dumper collapse on Oct. 6 is still under investigation

Officials at Celgar’s pulp mill in Castlegar say they should be back up to full operation in a few days despite an industrial accident earlier this month that damaged a crucial piece of equipment.

One of the mill’s two wood chip dumpers malfunctioned on Oct. 6. There’s still no explanation why the machine, which lifts transport trucks vertically and dumps their loads of wood chips into a hopper, collapsed without warning.

Celgar officials say the machinery had been inspected and cleared earlier this year.

No one was injured in the accident, which is still under investigation. On Sunday, Oct. 13 — more than a week after the accident — crews were finally able to remove the truck, which was left hanging suspended in the damaged machine.

The accident left Celgar officials having to find a place to put the tons of wood chips that are delivered to the plant daily.

“While the chip dumpers are being inspected and repaired, Celgar’s contracts for fibre delivery will continue to be honoured,” says a company news release. “Instead of bringing chips to the dumpers on site, fibre will be dropped at temporary transfer stations.”

Those transfer station are at Midway, west of Grand Forks and the Interfor transfer site next door to Celgar.

Celgar spokesperson Rose Leslie said the company expects to have the mill’s remaining, undamaged chip dumper inspected and operating by Oct. 21. That’s just a few days after the mill’s annual shutdown ends and production resumes, on the afternoon of Oct. 18.

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In this screen grab from a 2011 Youtube video, the Celgar chip dumper lifts a transport truck to remove the load of wood chips. Video by roserugosa

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