Port Townsend Paper fined $18K for wastewater pollution by Washington Ecology

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Port Townsend Paper fined $18K for wastewater pollution by Washington Ecology

October 20, 2010 - 08:11
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OLYMPIA, WA, Oct. 19, 2010 (Press Release) -Port Townsend Paper Corp. (PTPC) is receiving an $18,000 fine for wastewater discharges that violated the mill's water quality permit over several days in May 2010. The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) announced the penalty today.

For two days in early May, wastewater discharged to Glen Cove from the mill's treatment ponds contained higher-than-allowed levels of biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids. Later in the month, the mill again discharged wastewater into Glen Cove with more biochemical oxygen demand than permitted.

The mill reported these violations upon discovery and on its monthly report to Ecology.

The mill also reported exceeding its monthly averages for biochemical oxygen demand by 907 pounds (19 percent) and 261 pounds (3 percent) for total suspended solids.

Biochemical oxygen demand is a measure of how much oxygen is consumed by microorganisms in response to substances in the wastewater. Too much biochemical oxygen demand depletes oxygen in the water, and this can harm fish and other aquatic life. Excessive amounts of total suspended solids can disrupt habitat for bottom dwellers.

Both parameters are monitored to protect Glen Cove.

The mill reported malfunctions when restarting production after a scheduled maintenance closure at the mill. The malfunctions are a likely source for the wastewater discharge problems.

Ecology issued the mill an administrative order in August 2010, requiring PTPC to increase the monitoring frequency for the two pollutants.

PTPC has 30 days upon receipt to pay the penalty or may file an appeal with the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.