OEC 2012 News
Olympic Environmental Council (OEC) –Update July 18 2012
PCBs, PAHs, heavy metals and other contaminants were collectively found in the
sediments of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, on the mill site, in groundwater, and
in soils around town and near the landfills.
Currently, the City of Port Angeles plans to build a combined sewer-stormwater overflow pipe system along the Port Angeles Harbor shoreline in a tsunami, earthquake prone, flood zone where sea level is rising and through the mill site. The City purchased a remaining 5 million gallon tank on the mill site to be used for stormwater overflow when the City's nearby wastewater treatment plant lacks capacity to handle all the sewage and stormwater during heavy rains. OEC opposes this plan. The potential for the tank itself to overflow and the pipes to leak raises the risk of introduction of other contaminates to the already contaminated mill site and adjoining water bodies.
To try and offset the construction of this pipeline, the OEC, with support from the NW Fund for the Environment, Sierra Club North Olympic Group, Sierra Club Washington State Chapter Water Sentinels and University of WA Superfund Research Program recently held a series of public forums on the subject of alternative methods for handling stormwater, which causes sewage systems to overflow. The goal of the public forums was to educate and encourage community members to be involved and communicate with the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) funders - the City of Port Angeles, Washington State Department of Ecology and the USEPA, as well as the Puget Sound Partnership mandated to restore and protect Puget Sound, to instead require the City to handle stormwater through green methods such as rain barrels, roof downspout disconnection, pervious pavement, street swales, and fixing the City's inflow and infiltration problems. The government decision-makers should be encouraged to actively protect Puget Sound and the waters that empty into it by implementing natural and green technology methods to reuse and recycle clean water. In the Port Angeles instance, the entities instead chose to let the CSO project continue. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer. Please contact us for more information or to be involved OEC ongoing efforts.