February 17, 2015
Ecology and other agencies continue to respond to a release of oily water at the former Harbor Paper plant site in Hoquiam, which was reported by a fisherman late last week. The volume and type of oil are yet to be confirmed. The mill is being dismantled and demolished. As part of the dismantling of large waste water treatment tanks, collected rainwater and oily water was pumped into a nearby ditch that discharges into the mouth of the Chehalis River as it enters Grays Harbor on the West side.
The cleanup contractor, Cowlitz Clean Sweep, has shut off the outfall to the ditch. Boom and sorbents are deployed in both ditches. Options for flushing the ditches to enhance collection and recovery are being considered. No recoverable oil has been found so far.
Initial concerns were possible contamination with PCBs from dismantled electrical equipment. Sample results showed no PCBs or other contaminants.
Grays Harbor PUD, responsible party, is cooperating with the cleanup and investigation. The U.S. Coast Guard and Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife are also involved.