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Sept. 26, 2022

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Weyerhaeuser receives $40,000 water quality fine from Department of Ecology

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LONGVIEW — The Washington Department of Ecology fined Weyerhaeuser $40,000 Thursday for stormwater quality violations at its Longview mill.

According to a penalty notice issued to Weyerhaeuser on Monday, the department found 30 occasions where the mill’s stormwater discharge broke the state limits on certain water quality parameters between October 2020 and November 2021. The discharge violations largely had to do with the water’s five-day biochemical oxygen limit and its turbidity, or relative clarity.

The same stormwater outfall locations reported 30 monitoring issues in the penalty notice. The citation said the flow rate through the outfall had not been continually tracked for a four-week stretch between Aug. 14, 2021, and Sept. 10, 2021.

DOE’s penalty also included a one-time failure in September 2021 to sample and analyze its wastewater before it was sent to a nearby treatment facility. The monitoring is a special condition in place for the mill because of the complex infrastructure connections among NORPAC, Nippon Dynawave and Weyerhaeuser in the Longview facility.

“We believe strongly in permit compliance and invest significant time and resources to ensure we are meeting all environmental standards,” Weyerhaeuser Spokeswoman Mary McAleer wrote in an email statement Thursday.

McAleer’s statement added the two adjoining paper mills “may have contributed to or caused exceedances” of the Weyerhaeuser stormwater limits and they were cooperating with the Department of Ecology to address concerns.

A DOE spokesman said the issues that led to Weyerhaeuser’s fine were separate from the $68,000 fine announced Wednesday for water quality violations at Longview’s NORPAC mill.

The Weyerhaeuser fine will go into the Coastal Protection Fund, a grant pool for water quality projects that is overseen by the DOE.

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