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Pollution Update 2-7-13

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Margaret Hedrick a warning letter Jan. 16 for a “sizeable release” of what appeared to be used oil to the ground at 1700 Highway 99 N. in Eugene (a little south of Highway 99 and Bethel Drive). According to DEQ’s letter, “used oil can contain cancer-causing agents, metal contaminants and organic compounds that can impact soil, stormwater and surface waters as well as filter into the groundwater supply when discharged onto the land surface. Such contamination can result in serious hazards to human health.” DEQ has requested documentation of cleanup and proper disposal by Feb. 15.

DEQ sent Roseville, Calif.-based SierraPine a pre-enforcement notice Jan. 22 for discharging total suspended solids (TSS) at a level that exceeded the TSS limit in its Clean Water Act wash water permit by 183 percent at its facility on 48th Street in Springfield. DEQ classified this violation as a serious violation. High TSS can have a number of serious effects on aquatic life, including reducing oxygen levels; limiting the ability of fish to see and catch food; clogging fish gills; smothering fish eggs; and carrying other pollutants (such as pesticides, metals, and bacteria) into water bodies. DEQ warned SierraPine about a similar violation in February 2012.