We are happy that somebody finally is taking emergency action on the situation at the pulp mill. There has been a cleanup going on slowly for some time, but it has been our concern for a long time that it is too slow and too little. Now the community is acting surprised that there is a dangerous situation. It should be no surprise that there were tanks full of dangerous toxins at the mill site. It was discussed in the Times Standard before the mill was transferred to the Harbor District. That the mill site is full of toxic cancer causing chemicals is no secret. The information is on the Geotracker site of the State Water Board. Anyone can look up all the tests and the lists of noxious chemicals which are published on that site.
Now there are those who are looking for a scapegoat. There is even a blog which wants to hold Richard Marks responsible and recall him because of supposed secret information he had about these tanks. While we have not always agreed with Richard Marks on every issue, We would challenge those people who are pointing the finger at Richard to turn the finger around and point it at themselves. This community in general and members of the Water Board and the Air Board and local politicians have turned a blind eye to pollution at the mill site in favor of money. There were even environmental groups who were willing to support the opening of a new pulp mill at the Samoa site.
There are those of us who have gone to the meetings of the Air Board and the Water Board. They let us speak our three minutes and then voted for variances that let the mill bypass environmental laws and for more permits. While Evergreen Pulp was polluting our neighborhoods, people went before the Air Board. Many of them had severe health problems that were worsened by the toxic gases coming from the mill. They came with walkers and breathing apparatuses and asked that the regulatory agencies stop the toxic emissions. They were ignored. They stopped coming to the meetings.
We soon learned that no one wanted to hear about the dangers of the toxins at the mill. Politicians didn't want to hear. Eyes would glaze over. We were treated as if we were crazy. Once Evergreen Pulp left town without paying the mill workers or fines owed the Water Board, it was as if the mill was gone. It was seldom mentioned in the Times Standard. Like a problem relative, it was seldom mentioned.
Thank you E.P.A. for stepping in. Now we need them to look at the mill site as a whole.
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.
Yes, all that pollution is still out there on the Evergreen/ Freshwater Tissue Pulp Mill Site. Two letters have been sent to Freshwater Tissue Co. and Louisiana Pacific from the Water Board. Louisiana Pacific still has partial liability for pollution at the site since they operated the mill for many years. The company that ran Evergreen Pulp Mill no longer exists and its executives have left town.
In letter dated June 6, 2013 the Water Board gave the mill 90 days to come up with a work plan for Area of Interest-2 which is the former bleach plant. "This work plan should use and document all available historic data for identification of process chemicals used and resulting byproducts originating in AOI-2 for chemical analyses." The complete letter can be found on the Geotracker site of the State Water Board.
Another letter dated June 25, 2013 lists tasks that will be undertaken by the Water Board during the next year. One of the tasks is to encourage public involvement. The cost to the mill will be
$30,000. This letter is also on the Geotracker site.
Yesterday's front page of the Times Standards and this week's North Coast Journal have articles about the Harbor District buying the mill site from Freshwater Tissue. The mill site is a toxic cleanup site. The Harbor District should be very cautious about taking over any responsibility for what will be a very expensive cleanup.
Freshwater Tissue would like to be rid of this economic burden.
Geotracker, a site of the State Water Board, has a list of chemicals found in the wells at the mill site. It is tedious to read, but even a novice can understand that there are a huge variety of chemicals found on the mill site. Freshwater and Louisiana Pacific are responsible for monitoring these chemicals and for the clean up.
This does not include anything else that might be found on the site which would also be the responsibility of Freshwater and Louisiana Pacific. How much of this responsibility is Freshwater asking the Harbor District to take over? Of course, Freshwater would like a quick sale, even better if they could get rid of some of their responsibility and let a government agency like the Harbor District take it on.
Our advice to the Harbor District:
A July 13, 2012 letter on the Geotracker site concerned Areas of Interests (AOI-7 AOI-8 and AOI-9).
"The cost-benefit of applying combined air sparging (AS) soil vapor extractions (SVE) technology at full scale may not provide a reasonable cost- benefit for treating groundwater that is impacted with chlorinated volatile organic compound (VOC) plume (s) with low concentrations particularly when some level of monitored natural attenuation processes are occuring in the groundwater. The estimated total mass of VOCs in groundwater in AOI-8 and 9 remediation zones is approximately .357 pounds and 1.09 pounds respectively." The cost estimate is about $681,600 which is considered to be excessive.
According to Water Board staff this will be evaluated at a future time based to U.S. E.P.A. standards. If it is still there, the owners of the pulp mill and/or past owners may or may not have to clean it up.
Please see Geotracker under Evergreen Pulp for the entire text of the letter.
In a letter dated June 18, 2012 that is posted on Geotracker, the Water Board outlines tasks that will need to be completed by their staff to "recover costs of investigation and cleanup of unregulated discharges adversely affecting or threatening to affect the state's waters". One of the tasks that they outline is to "initiate public participation or risk assessment findings and draft (a) remedial action plan." In addition they plan to "Encourage public involvement in remediation issues at critical points." and to conduct site inspections.
The cost to the pulp mill will be $19,500.
For the complete letter please go to the State of California Geotracker site under Evergreen Pulp.
In a letter dated July 5, 2012, the Water Board staff summarized their response to comments provided on our blog. "There are several locations where historic discharges have created soil and groundwater pollution that ...have been identified and are documented. Due to access issues, identified locations (e.g. black liquor are and bleach plant) within the industrial part of the formerpulp mill and be temporarily held for future examination when safe access exists following demolition activities."
Furthermore, "We shall continue our efforts and continue our requests for any person with specific information to indicate where, what, and about when discharges occured within the areas of interest we are examining."
We all wish that we could get instant answers to what is out there on the millsite. However, this is apparently not possible under present circumstances. For those who gave information on this website, be assured that the Water Board has read and has taken note of the information you provided.
Basic Chemical Solutions is suing Evergreen Pulp of Colorado, Hydro Syntec Chemicals and David K.K. Tsang. This suit has had eight trial dates beginning with March 11, 2009. The reasons for the postponements include inability to find a courtroom. The next court date is July 9, 2012 where they will set another date for the jury trial unless it is postponed again.
On December 3, 2010 Basic Chemical Solutions claimed "That Mr. Tsang misrepresented and/or made material omissions regarding the financial health of Evergreen to BCS" (BCS= Basic Chemical Solutions)
"As a result of Mr. Tsang's material omissions regarding Evergreen's deepening insolvency BCS continued to deliver the caustic soda and was damaged in the amount of $904,875.07."
In an affadavit found in court records and dated July 14, 2010, David K.K. Tsang said that he was employed by Evergreen Pulp on January 21, 2005 and was Chief Executive Officer until February 8, 2009. He was also employed by Hydro Syntec Chemicals and was still their Chief Executive Officer at that time.
Question: "But you were wearing two hats at the same time, correct?
Tsang: "I was employed by both companies at the same time."
Tsang: "Hydro Syntec had a contract with Lee and Man Chemicals to market their product in the U.S."
Tsang:"So therefore our sole existence is dependent on being backed up by a producer."
Question: "So Lee and Man Chemicals is the producer?
Question: "To Whom did it sell?"
Tsang: "Samoa Acquisition Corporation"
Mr. Tsang went on to state that Evergreen was not owned by a subsidiary of Lee and Man.
When Mr. Tsang was asked who would know how Evergreen was billed, he answered "Tracy, but couldn't remember her last name. Furthermore Mr. Tsang said he did not know the whereabouts of Steve Edmonton the Chief Financial Officer.
Mr. Tsang said that BCS did not want the caustic soda back, so he sold it to Port Townsend Paper for $107,700
Evergreen was sold to Samoa Acquisitions for 2- 2.5 million. The proceeds went to pay off creditors, but BCS was paid nothing not even the amount they got for the sale of the caustic soda that they got from BCS.
Question: "You were not part of the new management team correct? (meaning Freshwater Tissue?)
Tsang: "I was not part of that management team."
This information and more is available in court records. Anyone can view the records. There are four files full of information (3 of them 3-4 inches thick). There are many unanswered questions:
If Evergreen went under and had no money, where are Evergreen of Colorado and David K.K. Tsang getting the money for the lawyers to write all these legal briefs?
Evergreen and Lee and Man advertised that Evergreen was a subsidiary of Lee and Man. Even documents of the North Coast Water Board state that Evergreen was a subsidiary of Lee and Man. We remember that Evergreen was listed on the Lee and Man website.??????????
People have reported that David K.K. Tsang was originally listed on the website of Freshwater Tissue.???????????????? (Memo, there were a number of owners between Samoa Acquisition and Freshwater Tissue Co.)
Why has this case been postponed for over 3 years?
"Oh what a tangled web we weave"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Evergreen Pulp Mill is being sued by Basic Chemical Solutions. This case was originally set for June 25, 2012, but has been changed to July 9, 2012 at 1:45 PM in Courtroom 8 at which time they will set a trial date. The defendant in this case is David K.K. Tsang. (Case # DR 090188)
Interesting! Does this mean Evergreen Pulp still exists? If so, have they met their obligations to pulp workers and regulatory agencies?
Who will show up to represent Evergreen Pulp? Will David K.K. Tsang show up? Interesting!
According to the Humboldt County Assessor's Office the following actions are listed on the property formerly known as the Samoa Pulp Mill and now owned by Freshwater Tissue Co:
Lot Line Adjustment 4-6-2012
LIS Pendens 1-18-2012
Grantor: Ferma Corp and Freshwater Tissue Co.
Grantee: Bayview Environmental Services
The "object of said action is to foreclose and enforce a mechanics lien recorded on October 19, 2011" for $155,654,00.
LIS Pendens 8-10-2011
Grantor: Freshwater Tissue Co., Bob Simpson, Charles Benbow and Donald Nolan
Grantee: Ferma Corp.
This action is a similar action to enforce a lien for "Breach of contract, common count, quantum meruit and alter ego liability case against Freshwater..., false promise, intentional misrepresentation against Freshwater...to foreclose and enforce that mechanics lien on and against Freshwater..."
Mechanics Lien 7-6-2011
Bayview Environmental Services Inc. $121,651 for Asbestos Abatement Services
Mechanics Lien 6-20-2011
Ferma Corp. $1,335,936.15
for labor, materials, services and equipment used for demolition services, asset recovery work and related activities.
According to the court clerk, these liens have not been removed.
Court Date according to Court Records
June 18, 2012 1:30 PM Courtroom 8
Case Management Conference
If anyone has more information about Freshwater Tissue Co. and possible title changes, please let us know.