In a letter dated March 17, 2011 to Mr. Bob Simpson of Freshwater Tissue Co. the Regional Water Board discussed the 2nd Revised concrete sampling plan. Demolition sampling data needs to be submitted to the Water Board no later than 2 weeks from the beginning of demolition or May 1, 2011 at the latest.

It seems that buildings are going to come down. Shouldn't there be more public information on this?


 
In a letter to Freshwater Tissue Co. and Louisiana Pacific dated March 2, 2011 and including  a technical memorandum from February 7, 2011, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board staff gave their response to the Second Half 2010 Groundwater Monitoring Report. The letter can be found on the Geotracker site of the State Water Board.  Monitoring of the wells on the site is in some cases being cut from two to one time a year or eliminated all together. This is despite the danger these chemicals/ metals can cause and some of the concerns mentioned in the report.

For instance:


"Review of historic ...data ...from wells at the Site indicates that one well... has measurements that would reasonably preclude it from being able to supply a public water system."  They go on to say that other wells might meet standards to be a public water source.  This is an excellent reminder not to drink the water coming out of the tap.

"We concur with the elimination of BTEX (benzene-toluene-ethylbenzene-xylenes and FO (Fuel Oxygenates) analyses from the MRP (monitoring report) based on the preponderance of reportable measurements greater than the laboratory's reporting limits and numaic groundwater WQOs (Water Quality Objectives).  Did we understand this one right?  They are not making them report on these chemicals and they have historically been over the limit??

Other wells "show increasing concentrations versus time indicating a potentially active source of expanding plume."  This can't be good!

In another well, "Dissolved arsenic and hexavalent chromium are more problematic because of their inherent toxicity."  This means that they are wisely going to keep testing for these chemicals, however they are cutting frequency to once a year. They are cutting nickel from the list of monitored chemicals.

"Three wells exist in this AOI (Area of interest 8) which has the continued threatened discharge potential to Humboldt Bay."

This is an 1 page letter and a 11 page technical enclosure with much detail about the chemicals and which must still be monitored twice a year and which only have to be monitored once or not at all. I know everyone will be excited about reading this with their morning coffee.  The letter ends with a period and no signature. Page 9 is missing.

In the reasons for the suspension of the monitoring and reporting program "Financial commitment by Louisiana Pacific Corporation for soil and groundwater cleanup." is listed.  This could be good news.

They say that Freshwater is waiting for approval by the California Coastal Commission to begin demolition activities.  This is confusing, because some of the demolition such as the asbestos removal has already begun.  The question is what is the text of the permit and when is the Coastal Commission going to meet on it.

The suspension of the Monitoring and Reporting Report was based on a request by Louisiana Pacific.

Conference Calls will be held monthly beginning March 9, 2011.

Our overall reaction to this letter and to the lack of information about the cleanup is why is there so much secrecy? Freshwater Tissue's website says nothing about the cleanup or the monitoring.  The local media apparently is not interested.  There is no public participation or any attempt to inform the public.  Yet,  this mill site is right in "our backyard".  If we have misinterpreted anything in this document, it is because it was not meant for us. It is written for scientists and mill owners.  We are thankful that Geotracker exists.  It is a real public service. Per chance it is not the fault of the Water Board that we are not informed.

The responsibility should fall on the backs of Louisiana Pacific and Freshwater Tissue Co.  What is happening?  Has the demolition begun?  What is the plan?  Is the asbestos gone yet?  Is the boiler still there?  Can you still make pulp? What is the longterm plan for the use of the mill site?

To the Water Board:  Why does Freshwater still have a Water Permit?
Why haven't the provisions of the Cease and Desist Order been implemented?

We are awaiting answers.