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Connecting Resources in Natural Dam

Earth sitting in green leaves on the grass as a renewable energy concept
Credit: iStock/Surasak Suwanmake

Dunn Paper – Natural Dam, Inc. located in Gouverneur, NY, produces white medical tissue and deep-dyed napkins. The mill employs 90 people and the company employs over 800 across the country. The company has seven plants in the U.S. and Canada.

Dunn Paper needed a water filtration and treatment system to remove dirt and tannins from the Oswegatchie River. The company struggled with water quality while making paper and used bleach to whiten the paper. Bleach is an expensive and corrosive chemical, which needed neutralizing before entering the process.

There were a lot of moving parts to this project, and solutions did not present themselves easily. CITEC's business advisor helped to break the project into pieces so we could accomplish what we needed to do. CITEC's deep network offered us resources to research different alternatives, and also found us additional funding sources.

— Matt Hartle, Maintenance Manager

CITEC, part of the New York MEP and the MEP National Network™, worked with the local Individual Development Account (IDA) program to help source three new pieces of equipment for Dunn. When the improved efficiencies started to add up, they realized it was time to call the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a New York state clean energy authority that promotes efficiency and renewable energy sources, to see if the upgrades met standards for capital reimbursements. It was estimated the annual energy, water and consumable savings would total more than a half million dollars per year, which would make Dunn eligible for a NYSERDA rebate totaling half of their capital expenditure.

On the tannin removal side of the project, CITEC brought together other New York state assets including the Pollution Prevention Institute, based at the Rochester Institute for Technology, and the Center for Advanced Materials Processing, based at Clarkson University. After several trials and experiments, the answer lay in using the same kind of system that municipalities use to clean drinking water. CITEC’s persistence in questioning outcomes and searching out additional experts resulted in a system that proved to be both effective and economical for Dunn.


  • $500,000 cost savings annually
  • $200,000 in improved productivity annually
  • Spring and fall run-off conditions in the river were eliminated

Could your company benefit from assistance with business solutions? Connect with your local MEP Center for more information.

The New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP) is the official representative of the MEP National Network in New York. The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that helps small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy. The MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

About the author

New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP) is a network of organizations that provide growth and innovation services to small and mid-sized manufacturers in every corner of the state to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. 

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