International tissue maker, Essity, is investing £3.4m to install state-of-the-art technology at its Tynedale factory.

The first phase of a multi-million pound water treatment plant at the Prudhoe manufacturing and Unifibres recycling plant now has been completed.

The project involves the installation of new technology and processes which are designed to meet or surpass the plant’s current environmental standards, and improve its energy efficiency.

The first stage of the project, which included a new biological aeration system, high-tech fine and coarse screening equipment, water pumps and a clarifier bridge, cost a total of £1.6m to complete.

Michael Farrey, a site engineer for Essity who is leading the project, said: “We use treated water from the River Tyne to produce our household paper and personal hygiene products, which is then cleaned through an effluent treatment plant before return to the river.

“As a business, we work to operate sustainably and efficiently, and this also means we have a responsibility to ensure that we minimise our impact on the environment through new investment in the best available technology.

“Our new effluent treatment plant uses energy saving technology, measuring the ingoing effluent quality and automatically controlling the output to ensure water quality is maintained. It will enable us to reduce energy consumption at the effluent treatment plant by 20 per cent, and improve the overall water quality going to the River Tyne.

“The benefit of including this green technology in our manufacturing operations not only ensures the mill is environmentally compliant into the future, and we are also reducing our environmental footprint by saving energy in the long term.”

The second stage of the project is scheduled to take place next year.

The owners of Prudhoe Mill were formerly known as SCA before the SCA Group split into two independent listed companies – the forest products company SCA and the hygiene and health company Essity.

Essity is now the name of the parent company to household brands including Tena, Bodyform, Velvet, Cushelle, Plenty and Tork.

The brand is a world leader in the production of personal care products, including incontinence products, baby care, feminine care and medical solutions, and is also the world’s second largest supplier of tissue paper.