The county Planning Commission’s review of a Glendale cannabis manufacturing project has exposed a lack of testing for dioxins on former mill and lumber storage sites, which could have implications for drinking water.
Considering the stakes, one commissioner described the lack of testing as “ridiculous.”
The uncertain contamination status of the project site eclipsed concerns about volatile manufacturing and an assumed link between cannabis and crime as the commission reviewed the project at its September 5 meeting.
There were concerns about those uses from neighboring residents. But a more entrenched issue soon became apparent.
Ryan Plotz, the attorney for the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, warned of potential effects on drinking water. “The district is seriously concerned that the project’s construction and operation will result in contaminated soils and groundwater flowing into the nearby Hall Creek, which flows into the Mad River and ultimately into the district’s downstream intake wells,” he said.
Plotz said groundwater levels of toxic pentachlorophenol (PCP) have “skyrocketed” since the sites were deemed uncontaminated in 2003.
“What’s really important is that no dioxin sampling has been done on the soil of this property at all. And these sites need to be tested for dioxins, not just pentachlorophenol – just as you would test old buildings for lead and asbestos, every lumber mill site in this county needs to be tested for dioxins.”