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Pollution Update 3-14-13

Oregon DEQ sent Georgia-Pacific Chemicals a warning letter Feb. 19 for exceeding the limit for total phenols in its Clean Water Act discharge permit by 200 percent at its Eugene facility on Hwy. 99 during November. Georgia-Pacific blamed the high level on laboratory error, but DEQ could not find supporting evidence for this claim. According to DEQ, phenol is toxic to many aquatic organisms, and DEQ has referred this violation to its Office of Compliance and Enforcement for formal enforcement.

On Feb. 28, DEQ sent warning letters to Jimmy & Deborah McCabe (property owners) and Gary Rose (president of Leisure Excavating, Inc.) for illegal disposal of solid waste at 85287 Hemlock St., Florence. DEQ’s investigation revealed “tremendous quantities” of land-clearing debris, construction and demolition debris, household waste, furnishings and appliances. DEQ’s letters note “the presence of such enormous quantities of organic waste at the edge of a ponded area that drains to a perennial stream can have significant impacts on water quality.” The drainage in which the property is located feeds a tributary to Woahink Lake, which is a rearing area for threatened coho salmon and other native fish, as well as public drinking water source for local residents and Honeyman State Park.