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Pollution Update

In early September, DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) assessed a penalty of $1,500 against SFPP, L.P. for Clean Water Act violations at its bulk petroleum facility at 1765 Prairie Rd. (just south of Lane Forest Products and north of Maxwell Road). The violations consisted of multiple oil and grease limit violations, and multiple failure-to-monitor violations. The Prairie Road facility is the southern terminus of a 114-mile pipeline from Portland, and has a storage capacity in excess of 700,000 barrels. SFPP elected to pay (and not to appeal) the penalty, which pales in comparison to the nearly $5.3 million SFPP and associated company Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP agreed to pay in 2007 to resolve liability associated with three California spills.

Also in early September, DEQ also issued a demand for payment of a stipulated penalty of $300 to Junction City for high pollution levels in its wastewater treatment plant discharges. Junction City routinely violates its Clean Water Act permit limits and in 1995 entered into an agreement with DEQ that relaxes permit limits for purposes of DEQ enforcement, and that also provides for automatic penalties for violations of these relaxed limits. DEQ records appear to indicate that Junction City has not paid the $300 penalty as of press time.

In late September, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) paid the highest penalty so far this year ($15,668) for a 2012 enforcement action for various violations related to the septic system at the Gettings Creek Rest Area along I-5 north of Cottage Grove.

DEQ has sent numerous Oregon Walmarts warning letters for hazardous waste violations, apparently starting with a Roseburg Walmart in February of 2011. Since then, Walmarts in Bend, Coos Bay, Cottage Grove, Dallas, Eagle Point, Eugene (both Green Acres Rd. & West 11th Ave. locations), Grants Pass, Hood River, Lebanon, McMinnville, Medford, Redmond, Salem (two stores), Springfield, Talent and Woodburn have received similar letters, with Bend, Hood River and Redmond stores receiving letters in September. DEQ also sent the Corvallis Home Depot a letter regarding hazardous waste violations last month, and while Home Depot doesn’t appear as frequently in DEQ’s databases as Walmart, the same Corvallis store was contacted previously (in April 2008) by DEQ regarding hazardous waste violations, as have Home Depots in Albany, Bend, The Dalles, Eugene and Roseburg.

DEQ has a “super-short” public engagement survey aimed at finding out “If you have the opportunities you need to weigh in on environmental issues,” at the following address: http://wkly.ws/1ds 

DEQ is accepting public comments on its draft permit for industrial stormwater discharges from sand and gravel operations, quarries, etc. through Nov. 17. For more info, visit http://wkly.ws/1dt

Information provided by Doug Quirke and the Oregon Clean Water Action Project www.oregoncleanwater.org