Humboldt Baykeeper warns of chemical runoff on former mill sites
The Arcata-based soil company Royal Gold LLC recently settled a federal civil lawsuit filed by Humboldt Baykeeper that alleged the company allowed harmful chemicals at its Glendale soil mixing facility to contaminate the Mad River and the nearby Mill Creek.
The company agreed to make a variety of infrastructure changes to prevent contaminated runoff from entering soil and groundwater.
Royal Gold has been operating the 15-acre soil mixing facility on the former Blue Lake Forest Products mill site since 2009, according to court documents.
Humboldt Baykeeper Executive Director Jennifer Kalt urged potential buyers of former timber mill properties to determine whether soil and groundwater at the site has been contaminated with chemicals. Kalt said this is especially important for cannabis businesses as the county is currently proposing to incentivize businesses to reuse former industrial sites.
“Although some former lumber mill sites may be appropriate locations for new cannabis–related businesses, many of them are contaminated with industrial chemicals, including dangerous and long-lasting dioxins from the use of a wood preservative, pentachlorophenol,” Kalt said. “Without full knowledge of the extent of these pollutants and proper cleanup, ground disturbance at these sites can impact our waterways, as well as human health.”