A September 27, 2007 letter to Evergreen Pulp from the Water Board discussed the danger of spillage into Humboldt Bay.  “Beginning in January 2007 the CRWQCB initiated discussion with EPI regarding existing groundwater contamination on-site and the potential discharge…threat to Humboldt Bay.” Translation: the mill site is filled with lots of nasty chemicals and they could leak into the bay. 


A different letter dated August 1, 2007 says, “Chemical analyses results indicate that CRWQCB water quality objectives are exceeded for organic and inorganic constituents…Of the 13 monitoring wells, 12 monitoring wells have concentrations of organic and/or inorganic COCs exceeding WQO’s.”

Translation: The mill is a toxic waste site.

We looked into specific chemicals involved.  The chemical information is online at the Water Board Geotracker website.  Tests were done in March 2008 by North Coast Laboratories in Arcata.p  The report is detailed, but we were able to isolate some significant statistics.  Beginning on p. 127 is a very long list of chemicals that exceed the reporting limit. We will be learning more about these as we go along.  For today we are concentrating on four chemicals that exceed the reporting limit by huge amounts. We will be finding out more about what the acceptable amounts, if any, for these chemicals are. 

Arsenic:  504.8 micrograms per liter

              Reporting level 5.0

Arsenic is classified as a known cause of cancer by the state of California (prop 65)


Chromium: 499.4 micrograms per liter

              Reporting level 5.0

Hexavalent chromium is a known cause of

cancer according to the state of California.

We will be learning more about what kind of

Chromium they tested here. The water board says there is some hexavalent chromium on site.

 
Manganese 492.9 micrograms per liter

              Reporting level 2.0

 
Nickel 500.4 micrograms per liter

             Reporting level 5.0

              Nickel is a known cause of cancer according               to the state of California

 
This information is on p. 133 of the summary report, 

Since we know the Water Board is meeting this month with both Louisiana Pacific (which is sending people from their home office) and Freshwater Pulp about cleaning up the mill site, it is doubtful that there has been much if any cleanup since 2007.  Therefore, questions should be asked loudly, “Are mill contaminants draining into Humboldt Bay?  Are these poisons in our groundwater?

The above information is available on geotracker at the State Water Board.

For minimal risk levels for these and other chemicals go to the following link:



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