Repeated water quality violations at the Port Townsend Paper Corporation (PTPC) mill in Port Townsend led to a $27,000 penalty from the Washington Department of Ecology. Pollution above permitted levels can negatively impact the aquatic environment.
Between November 2021 and March 2022, PTPC spilled approximately 800 gallons of untreated process wastewater into Port Townsend Bay, and exceeded the pollution discharge levels allowed in their water quality permit 14 times.
PTPC’s water quality permit requires the mill to treat their wastewater before ultimately discharging it to Port Townsend Bay. Solids and chemicals in process wastewater above permitted levels can harm aquatic life and reduce water quality.
According to PTPC, the violations were a result of leaking pipes, equipment failures, and operational challenges caused by freezing weather.
PTPC has 30 days to pay the fine, or to appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.
Water quality penalty payments are placed into the state’s Coastal Protection Fund, which provides grants to public agencies and tribes for water quality restoration projects.