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International Paper's Prattville, Alabama mill shuts down following 'structural failure'

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (From news reports) -- A weekend incident at International Paper's Prattville location has shut down operations for the time being.

International Paper spokeswoman Amy Simpson said there was a "structural failure" at one of the containerboard mill's stock tanks on Saturday. Simpson said it happened during a scheduled annual maintenance outage but did not go into specifics.

"There were no injuries and no adverse environmental impact," she said in a statement, emphasizing that there is no impact to local residents.

Simpson said the mill was operating at partial capacity when it happened.

Crews are assessing the damage to determine the steps needed to resume partial and full operations. The mill is completely shut down in the meantime.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management is looking into what happened. Spokeswoman M. Lynn Battle sent the following statement: "ADEM has been in communication with International Paper officials. Early indications are that excess air emissions were not the cause of the shut down at the plant. ADEM has a conference set up with IP tomorrow to gather information regarding the incident and to ensure the welfare of the citizens."

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