COOS BAY — Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC of Coos Bay entered into a Clean Water Act settlement after being caught in five alleged violations.
In an announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, this settlement is the result of the EPA uncovering a number of violations of its Oregon state industrial stormwater permit at Georgia-Pacific Wood Product’s Coos Bay facility.
“As part of the two-part agreement settling the matter, Georgia-Pacific agreed to comply with existing Oregon industrial stormwater regulations and pay a $79,000 penalty,” the release said.
Specifically, Georgia-Pacific must pay $79,394, as stated in the settlement.
The EPA first uncovered the violations when a representative did a compliance investigation Nov. 28. According to the Clean Water Act settlement, the representative was there to make sure the Georgia-Pacific facility was in compliance with its 2012 general permit.
“At the time of the inspection, the facility discharged stormwater via six outfalls … into the Isthmus Slough,” the settlement said.
These discharges contained pollutants.
“Stormwater management is a critical part of safeguarding Coos Bay water quality,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Office for Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle in the release. “When sediment, metals, oil and grease are discharged to adjacent water bodies, downstream water quality is degraded, and fish and wildlife habitat is harmed. Stormwater management not only protects public health and the environment, it’s also a required good business practice.”
Georgia-Pacific agreed to the settlement terms under Oregon’s industrial stormwater permit regulations., the release said. This will require facilities to use comprehensive stormwater controls to lessen the amount of sediment and other pollutants from stormwater runoff.
“EPA performed the inspection and is taking this action as part of a compliance work sharing agreement with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality,” the release said.
Because of the pollutants that entered into the slough, which is a tributary to Coos Bay and the Pacific Ocean, it now has “impaired” water quality and “does not meet the state of Oregon’s water standards,” the release said.
Georgia-Pacific had five counts of alleged violations.
Count 1: Failure to collect representative samples.
Count 2: Failure to maintain control measures.
In the settlement, it was pointed out that drainage basin 2 contained a tide gate to stop brackish water in the slough from entering the basin during high tide. During the 2016 EPA inspection, the tide gate was inoperable and facility representatives were reported saying it had been inoperable for nearly a year.
Count 3: Failure to complete adequate Tier 1 corrective action response.
The settlement explained that outfall 2 exceeded the drainage benchmark concentration for chemical oxygen demand on nine occasions from July 2013 to February 2016.
Count 4: Failure to monitor outfall 3A.
Count 5: Failure to properly monitor oil and grease.
“Georgia-Pacific neither admits nor denies the factual allegations contained in the Consent Agreement and Administrative Order on Consent,” the release said.
Georgia-Pacific has 30 days to pay the fine.