The Weyerhaeuser Company is being fined $40,000 for repeated water quality violations at its Longview mill. The Washington Department of Ecology is issuing the penalty to Weyerhaeuser for water pollution and failing to adequately monitor its stormwater and wastewater. Pollution above permitted levels can negatively impact human health and the environment.
Stormwater and wastewater from the Weyerhaeuser facility ultimately discharges to the Columbia River, which is home to many aquatic species including endangered salmon and steelhead. Stormwater and process wastewater can carry muddy water, debris, and chemicals into local waterways. Sediments, chemicals, and debris can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality.
Between October 2020 and November 2021, the company failed 42 times to meet pollution limits at two stormwater outfalls. Under its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit, Weyerhaeuser is required to control levels of solids and organic materials in discharges. In addition, investigators found Weyerhaeuser failed on 32 occasions to monitor discharges as required under its permit.
The company also violated both monitoring requirements and discharge limits once in 2021 for wastewater that is sent to a neighboring treatment facility.
Weyerhaeuser has 30 days to pay the penalty or file an appeal with the Pollution Control Hearings Board.
Payments for water quality penalties support the state’s Coastal Protection Fund, which provides grants to public agencies and tribes for restoration projects.