Environmental Benefits of Modernization Project

Alcoa’s Modernization Project provides significant opportunities to upgrade facilities for more efficient, safer and environmentally-friendly operation. Operating in a manner that protects and promotes the health and well-being of the environment is a core Alcoa value. The improvements to the East facility will help Alcoa achieve long-term business success through environmental excellence, good governance and social responsibility.


  • Replacing the existing Soderberg potline with a P-225 prebake potline will result in significant air quality improvements because more fumes are able to be captured in P-225 pots.
  • Overall greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 51 percent following the completion of the Modernization Project. (Greenhouse Gases associated with the smelting process are perfluorocarbons, methane and carbon dioxide.)
  • Total emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants at the modernized East Plant will be reduced by 41 percent.
  • Total other regulated air pollutants at the East Plant will be reduced by 32 percent.
  • A significant reduction in airborne dust inside the potroom will mean that employees will be able to perform nearly all potroom tasks without the need for respiratory protection.


  • Increased process water recycling will reduce the volume of wastewater discharged.
  • Direct stormwater runoff from the roofs and courtyards of the new smelting complex will be collected in a new pond system and recycled for use in the manufacturing process.
  • Planned improvements are estimated to reduce the wastewater discharged to the St. Lawrence River by approximately 60 percent.
  • An added benefit associated with recycling water is a corresponding reduction in water drawn from the St. Lawrence River for use in the manufacturing process.


  • The solid waste generated by the aluminum smelting process is called spent potliner. The amount of spent potliner waste generated per ton of aluminum produced will be reduced by approximately 56 percent with the installation of modernized pots at the East Plant.