Today's Times Standard reports that Freshwater Tissue Co. is transferring the Samoa Pulp Mill to the Harbor District.  According to the Times Standard, there is no cost to the Harbor District.  They mention the problem of cleaning up 4 million gallons of pulping liquors, but the cost of the cleanup is minimized in our opinion.  The mill is a major cleanup site that involves much more than the pulping liquors.  No one really knows how much the cleanup will cost. The pulp liquors may be only the start of the cleanup.

According to a letter from the Regional Water Board dated July 23, 2013: 

Regional Water Board concerns exist regarding source(s) of soil and groundwater pollution from the industrial-heart of the Site. Process chemicals commonly included organic and inorganic compounds. In addition to the process chemicals, post-processing organic and 
inorganic byproducts existed that were discharged into subsurface drains to manhole #5 and ultimately out to the ocean outfall. The source(s) of dioxin isomers in the waste water effluent are currently unknown. The source(s) of dioxin isomers is at the forefront of our 
concerns because of this pollutant’s toxicity, its measured presence in effluent years after the Site switched to totally chlorine-free operations, and because published information 
regarding pulp mills typically identify historic industrial processes (e.g bleach plant and digester). These discharges are likely source(s) of various pollutants including dioxin isomers. Leaks and spills may be significant sources of soil and groundwater pollution. The
Regional Water Board staff letter dated June 6, 2013 request a work plan for the former bleach plant (also known as area of interest (AOI) -2 which is due within 90 days from June 6, 2013.

In other words the cleanup is much more complex that what was presented in the Times Standard article.  The pulp liquors may be the least of the cost of the cleanup. The complete environmental damage and thereby the cost of the cleanup is not known yet.I hope the members of the Harbor District have read the materials on the geotracker site which go into detail about the chemicals on the site.

Of course, Freshwater Tissue Co. wants to get rid of the mill before it costs them any more money.  The transfer of the site will be from a private company to the public.  How much will all this cost us? It is interesting that Commissioner Dale says, "That pulp liquor situation, it's grave. But I don't see anyone else stepping up to fix it or take care of it.  I think we have an opportunity and the obligation to do so."Wait a minute!!!  Isn't this the responsibility of Louisiana Pacific, Evergreen Pulp Mill and Freshwater Tissue??
Once again a corporation gets off the hook and the public pays the bill.

It has been a concern of this blog for a long time that there has been little coverage of the situation at the mill since it shut down.  The public is not aware of the severity of the pollution at the mill site.  It is not just about the pulp liquor.  A truck cannot just come and haul away the problem..  It is in the soil and the water.  Once again there is talk of public participation.  So far, this has amounted to 3 minutes of time per person at public meetings.