Nathan Rushton, Eureka Reporter

Feb. 20, 2008

 

EUREKA - To avoid further litigation, Simpson Timber Co. has struck a deal with two environmental groups to remove tons fo sediment laden with the toxic compound dioxin from a former mill site at the foot of Del Norte Street in Eureka.

The settlement agreement stems from a lawsuit filed in 2006 under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act against Simpson Timber by Eureka-based Humboldt Baykeeper and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics.

Tests of the soil where plywood was apparently sprayed in the 1960s with the now-banned wood preservative pentachlorophenol found dioxin at levels at tens of thousands of times higher than thresholds established by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the environmental groups.

Humboldt Baykeeper director Pete Nichols said in a news release that the settlement is a pivotal step in addressing and fixing the dioxin problem in and around Humboldt Bay.

“The work required under this agreement will help protect those who fish from this public pier and throughout the bay, in addition to the fish and other inhabitants of the Bay,” Nichols said.

According to the consent decree document, Simpson Timber denies all of the allegations raised by the environmental groups in the original lawsuit of violations and that the conditions posed an “imminent or substantial endangerment” to people or the environment.

Eureka Times Standard, Feb. 21, 2008

The Simpson Timber Co. will be removing tons of sediment contaminated with dioxin from the foot of Del Norte Street a part of a settlement of a 2006 lawsuit filed by Humboldt Baykeeper and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics.

The lawsuit came after tests were conducted near the site of a former Simpson plywood mill, where the company commonly sprayed plywood with the now-banned wood preservative pentachlorophenol in the 1960s, revealed the presence of dioxin, according to joint news release from Humboldt Baykeeper and CATS. Dioxin is an accidental byproduct of pentachlorophenol, according to Patty Clary of CATS.

The tests revealed the presence of dioxin at levels "tens of thousands of times higher than Environmental Protection Agency standards," according to the news release.