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News / Business / Clark County Business

Camas officials rule demolition plan for Georgia-Pacific paper mill won’t have significant adverse environmental impacts

Company to remove warehouse, docks/piers, more over three years

By Kelly Moyer, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: August 19, 2023, 6:07am

Camas city officials have ruled that the planned removal of Camas paper mill structures in and over the Columbia River and the Camas Slough would not have significant adverse environmental impacts.

The city gave the project a “determination of nonsignificance” pursuant to the Washington State Environmental Policy Act rules.

At issue is Georgia-Pacific’s plan to remove a warehouse, five docks/piers, conveyor housings, an above-ground oil tank, a crane foundation and approximately 3,000 pilings associated with those structures over a three-year period.

Some of the structures included in the demolition plans are on state-owned land GP leases from the Washington Department of Natural Resources, according to official documents.

Georgia-Pacific officials said they do not anticipate any waste materials will enter the ground or surface waters near the demolition and dredging sites.

“No waste is anticipated to enter groundwater because of this proposed project,” the company stated in its application. “The proposed project includes in-water work for removal of dolphins (piles driven into the riverbed) and piers as well as over-water structure removals. Inadvertent introduction of debris to surface waters could occur during activities. All demolition would be planned to reduce the risk of introduction of debris to surface waters.”

The company said that, for over-water structures, “several approaches will be employed to reduce the risk of materials entering surface waters.”

“To the extent that agencies allow, all over-water structure demolition will be timed to occur when river stages are low so that the riverbank is not covered by water,” the company stated in its application. “Riverbank structures would be demolished with upper stories removed first and working from the upland side, so that ground floors and riverside walls serve to contain debris. Other management practices to contain debris and potential sedimentation include floating silt curtains in-water and silt curtains on the riverbank. Debris nets and utilizing barges to protect surface waters would also be implemented.”

The company’s application notes that several species of birds, mammals and fish have been observed at or near the proposed demolition sites, including red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, crows, osprey, deer, river otters, coyotes, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon.

There are threatened and endangered species known to have habitat within the area, including Lower Columbia River fall chinook, coho and steelhead.

The company said its demolition plan would eventually preserve or enhance wildlife in the area.