Monday, 24 June 2013 20:39

Port Townsend Paper mill's landfill hearing delayed until December

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peteThe Port Townsend Paper Corp.’s controversial landfill issue won’t be heard by the state Pollution Control Hearings Board until December.

A hearing had been set for August before the state board to rule on whether the mill’s landfill classification should change from inert to a more stringent limited-purpose-landfill (LPL) designation.

Jefferson County Public Health Environmental Specialist Pinky Feria-Mingo said Monday, June 17 that the date change was related to the hearings board.

Both the county and the state Department of Ecology (DOE) told the mill to file for an LPL permit last summer.

An LPL permit would require more stringent monitoring of groundwater and would require the mill to prove it has the financial means to close the landfill once it is full.

Arguing that the law had not changed and the waste had not changed, the mill refused and applied for an inert permit, a less stringent permit and one it has had for about a decade.

“Ecology believes the Port Townsend Paper Corp. should be monitoring groundwater and providing financial assurance for its landfill,” said Peter Lyon, Southwest Region Waste 2 Resource Program manager, of why the DOE intervened in the dispute earlier this year. “As a limited purpose landfill, the company would have to meet these criteria.”

Mill officials steadfastly maintain the waste stream has not changed and neither have the laws, “so the landfill designation should not change either,” Kevin Scott, environmental director for the mill, wrote earlier this year after announcing the mill would appeal Health Officer Tom Locke’s decision to deny the company an inert permit.

Until the Pollution Control Hearings Board issues a decision, the mill continues to operate under its less environmentally stringent inert permit, according to Feria-Mingo.

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