City Council Ignores Dioxin, Approves Toxic Waste
The Greeks had it right when they observed even the gods cannot protect fools from their folly. You can’t fix $tupid! Already the cancer capitol of Washington State, Shelton’s Mayor and City Council signed up residents for another giant helping of what’s already killing them–DIOXIN. It’s about the most dangerous potent toxin known to man…hazardous in parts per trillion. If it can be measured, it is dangerous. It’s simultaneously carcinogenic, mutagenic, immuno-suppressive, cognitive-depressive, bio-accumulative and incurs auto-immune chronic disease like diabetes and multiple sclerosis. It kills–not only the living, but the unborn.
Mayor Cronce along with his minions felt it was a small price to pay for the adulation of real estate special interest groups and the ultimate carrot for a small impoverished rural county like Mason: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! Although Terri Thompson aptly pointed out how their charge was to evaluate environmental considerations and the health impact of the Hall Equities proposal to develop a massive residential site on 604 acres between two huge severely polluted toxic waste dumps (Goose Lake and the ‘C’ Street dump) loaded with Dioxin and a panoply of other toxic killers, the City Council elected to ignore this responsibility in favor of business as usual in the toxic cesspool it has encouraged and promoted over the years. Shelton would remain, as always, the gateway to industrial blight and the cancer capitol of Washington State. Shelton would now have the distinction of being the bedroom community of its very own ‘Love Canal’.
The State’s Environmental Protection Agency has a reasonably well formatted data base mapping the incidence of cancer, but it has yet to accomplish the same in formatting one for the incidence of birth defects across the State. The stigma associated with birth defects has traditionally made the gathering of such information difficult. Yet, birth defects occur in Mason County with disturbing regularity. The area schools have notoriously poor performance results by students on standardized tests. The relationship between the Dioxin contamination scattered across Mason County and those academic tests results is suspect, but not currently quantified. Mother’s aren’t exactly advertising the birth defects they discover in their children. The Mayor, City Council, and oily merchants of greed and unmitigated pollution go about their business of despoiling the commons, despite the impact on the health/welfare of the community, with abandon.
On a side note, Herr Cronce’s much insisted on ‘civility’ devolved into his (along with the City Attorney) ordering the town police to unmask Death during the public hearing surrounding the issue of Hall Equities’ ‘toxic hills’ development proposal and the FEIS (final environmental impact statement), conveniently ruling there were no substantial unmitigated environmental impacts. Death refused to be more than a nameless omnipresence in the heart of a poisonous wasteland promoted by the Mayor. Officer Bellamy can be seen arguing the finer points of 1st Amendment principles with Death during a 5-minute break in the public hearing room. The apparition allowed officer Bellamy to temporarily remove his scepter from sight because, as Bellamy explained, “The commissioners were frightened by his appearance and the scepter could be considered a ‘weapon’.”
This was high praise coming from a body who has been Death’s best salesman. The metaphorical scepter could hardly stand comparison with the toxic wastes and Dioxins to which these honorable officials so eagerly repeatedly expose their constituents. Not to be undone by protocol or decency, Mayor Cronce has said: “It would be a mistake to allow those testifying at public hearings to serve as the basis for official policy decisions.” i.e. Devil take the hindmost…the public is a nuisance, interfering as it does with special interest considerations.
Perhaps equally disturbing was how limp even those protesting the foregone decision were in pointedly demonstrating their disapproval. When asked to tape some images of the effects of Dioxin on animals and the unborn to the entrances of City Hall, there were no takers. Not one environmentalist present was even willing to hand the images to the City Council during the public hearing. The activists were cowed and almost as spineless as the 2 City Council members, voting unanimously in favor of developing the 604 acres wedged between the two toxic waste sites (Goose Lake and ‘C’ Street dump) without a plan or schedule for meaningfully mitigating/cleaning up the Dioxins leaching into the aquifer recharge zone within the development site. Shelton does not have enough water resources currently to furnish the needs of such a huge housing tract. The water would come from the wells and Shelton Springs located nearby/on the development tract.
Tom Davis questioned what kind of families would knowingly/willingly purchase parcels imperiling the health and safety of their children. He questioned how this could be counted as a boon, economic or otherwise, to the community.
As reported by KMAS, the City Commission approved Ordinance 1845-2014, a Planned Action Ordinance, which allows the Shelton Hills Project to proceed; earth movement and infrastructure. The Commission’s actions allow the project to move forward, after being stalled for more than 5 years, while the environmental issues are addressed and clean up actions on the Goose Lake Site begin.
Ecology’s team (see below) of investigators gave an overview of the environmental cleanup process and current status of both clean up concerns (Goose Lake and the C Street Dump). Rebecca Lawson, Regional manager of the Department of Ecology stated the investigating process is lengthy, however once the contamination and cleanup process is determined, the actual site cleanup happens much quicker. (Below this article is an email response from Linda Kent, Ecology Southwest and Olympic Region Communications Manager regarding the status on the sites and cleanup information.)
Testimony from the public was divided. Realtors and business owners stated the economic need to allow the build out of the site while continuing with the site clean up as the project is built out. Other citizen public comment centered on mistrust that the two sites adjacent to the project site and the ravine location on the Shelton Hills property will actually get cleaned up. More comments were on the potential liability of future cost to the City. These concerns stemmed from the length of time Ecology and Rayonier have taken to evaluate the Goose Lake site, which has yet to have a documented plan for cleaning up the site. [One staffer, Chris Matthews, Hydrogeolgist Toxic Cleanup, from the State's Dept. of Environmental Protection stated, while yet incomplete, sampling from the 'C' Street dump site revealed Dioxin contamination in the range of parts per billion, i.e. thousands of times, or more concentrated than the maximum allowed under current federal law measured in a few parts per trillion!]
Site investigations for Goose Lake began in 1997 naming Rayonier as the potentially liable party (PLP) responsible for funding the site cleanup. KMAS received comment, separate of the City meeting, from Russell Schweiss, Rayonier’s Director of Corporate Communications, stating “Rayonier is committed to meeting our environmental obligations at the Goose Lake site and completing the clean-up there in accordance with State law. Rayonier has followed the process laid out by the state to this point and are currently awaiting review and approval of our investigation report that was submitted to the state in July 2012. Upon approval, Rayonier will then be able to begin evaluating remedial alternatives and move forward with the clean up process.”
Brandon Farrell, Project Manager of the Shelton Springs Project and VP of Hall Equities Northwest Region did not make comment.
Community Development Director Steve Goins identified the three basic steps necessary to designate a Planned Action Project:
- Prepare an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) designating a planned action project by Ordinance. (done)
- Review future permit applications to determine the project is consistent with the designated planned action. Considerations of the Planned Action Ordinance the City Commission will consider:
- The probable significant adverse environmental impacts of the Shelton Hills project and mitigation measures for these impacts, and adopting the entire FEIS (Future Environmental Impact Statement) and incorporating it by reference in the Ordinance.
- Agreeing the EIS in conjunction with development regulations applicable to the Shelton Hills project adequately addresses the probable significant environmental impacts.
- Ensuring the mitigation measures set forth in the FEIS, together with the applicable development regulations, are adequate to mitigate the significant adverse impacts from development within the Planned Action area. [A fence has been suggested as all that's needed...seriously.]
- Ensure the Public has opportunity for comment.
State Ecology Staff:
The state’s Model Toxics Control Act, or MTCA, defines the process and steps of cleaning up a contaminated site. All of these steps are vital to help Ecology thoroughly understand the site, contamination present, best cleanup options, public concerns, and other factors that come into play for successful site cleanup.
The front-end work can be time-consuming and is not all that visible. The actual cleanup phase is often a shorter part of the whole process.
Here’s the status on the C Street Landfill and Goose Lake sites:
C Street Landfill status
A key step in cleanup is called a Site Hazard Assessment in which current data is collected about a site. The purpose of a site assessment is to evaluate potential risk and assign priority for site cleanup. After a site assessment, the site is ranked with a score of 1 to 5, with 1 representing the highest priority for cleanup under MTCA.
Ecology is evaluating the cost to collect current data. Work is contingent on funding.
Prior steps are site identification and an initial investigation by Ecology, which have been completed at the C Street Landfill site.
Additional information can be found on the cleanup site web page.
Goose Lake status
Site investigation began in 1997, and Rayonier was named a potentially liable person under MTCA. The site was given a ranking of 2 on the Hazardous Sites List. Rayonier signed an agreed order with Ecology in 2001 to complete a remedial investigation/ feasibility study and an initial draft cleanup action plan. Conducting the remedial investigation and drafting the report can take time, and studies can build upon one another as information is gathered. A remedial investigation often goes through several rounds of review to ensure all aspects of the site have been addressed.
The company conducted multiple investigations to characterize the extent of contamination between 2002 and the present:
- Remedial investigations from 2002-2003, including testing of soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment and fish tissue samples
- There was limited soil and groundwater sampling in 2005
- Goose Lake sediment studies in 2007 and 2008
- Soil sampling in the disposal lagoon area and drainage ravine in 2008
- Evaluation of lake organic matter and geomorphic history in 2009
- Soil and groundwater sampling in 2010.
Rayonier has submitted a final draft remedial investigation report to Ecology, and the agency is working with Rayonier to finalize a public review draft of the report.
Ecology also named Shelton Hills Investors, LLC, a potentially liable person in 2013, as the company purchased property south of Goose Lake, including a small portion of the Goose Lake site in the ravine. There was a pause while Shelton Hills and Rayonier held discussions on what role, if any, the development company would have with the cleanup.
At this time, Ecology is continuing to work with Rayonier to move forward with the work required in the 2001 agreement.
Next Cleanup Steps
Ecology will hold a public comment period for the draft remedial investigation report when additional documents (the draft feasibility study and draft cleanup action plan) are complete.
Additional information is available on the cleanup site webpage.
More info on Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study:
The RI/FS is important to:
- Determine detailed site characteristics and define the extent and magnitude of contamination at a site;
- Evaluate potential impacts on human health and the environment and establish cleanup criteria; and,
- Evaluate cleanup alternatives.
Next Steps-Future Site Use
Though Goose Lake is still privately owned by Rayonier, the City of Shelton is exploring reuse options for Goose Lake following cleanup including the possibility of public access on the site.
Ecology awarded a $200,000 integrated planning grant to the city, which provides funding to develop plans for the reuse of contaminated sites and conduct public outreach.
>Reuse options for the site will vary depending on the type and scale of cleanup selected, so such information is needed before the city can develop plans.
Goose Lake’s surface water, sediments, and drainage ravine are contaminated from liquid waste disposal from Rayonier’s old pulp mill in the 1930s and 1940s. From 1936 through 1974, a landfill on the east end of the lake received solid waste from the mill and research lab, ash and char from the mill’s incinerator, and demolition debris when the mill closed.
And a final note
There has been a lot of concern about these cleanup sites being near the planned Shelton Hills development. The WADOE states that cleanups can be done effectively at the same time the development is being built. The areas that are being developed are separate from the cleanup sites – that is they do not overlap with areas of contamination. The exposure pathway of concern would be having someone come into contact with contamination on the cleanup sites. Measures such as fencing can be used to minimize any potential exposure. [They're serious!...no mention of aquifer contamination or how a fence prevents the migration of that water born contamination in an aquifer recharge zone.]
But, Terri Thompson, who had invested years of research and almost single handed done the heavy lifting among citizen environmental activists says:
Come to the public meeting 3-17-14
Where: Civic Center in downtown Shelton
When: 6 in the evening!
What’s happening? * It’s the biggest meeting in Shelton’s history.
Several concerned citizens have spent the last several years working researching important issues effecting our community. Their research is related to the community’s health and safety which is mainly about water. The [...] most important substance in your life; essential for life and health. Water is being impacted in Mason County by land use decisions that have, and are, being made without your understanding/consent. Information can give you power to make decisions influencing you and the community’s health. Please pass on this information.
SHARE now on Facebook…
And email community members.
PLEASE GO VIRAL WITH THIS!!!!!
The Shelton Hills Project
by Terri Thompson
It is lengthy…the issues complex…but it has potentially life or death implications.
Also see the City of Shelton’s website… click on ‘Shelton City Commission Agendas, Minutes and Videos’. Then click on the last few videos, and watch public comments to get an understanding of the conversations taking place.
What’s this meeting about?
* A huge developer has plans which need approval by the City in the form of a Planned Action Ordinance. The City Commissioners will decide to sign it or not. The Ordinance states ‘all environmental issues’ have been ‘adequately addressed’ in the Environmental Impact Statement, and impacts mitigated. (Mitigation is developing a plan to lessen the environmental impact).
What’s the problem?
* Do we want our community sicker? The area proposed for this project is extremely contaminated. The Dept. of Ecology recognizes the human health risks at this development site. That is why it’s known as a Hazardous Site! Some of the known hazards are dioxins/furans, PCBs, mercury , arsenic, chromium, PAHs, and VOCs…just to mention a few of the known contaminants!!! Look them up. Need I mention cancer?
Where are those contaminants coming from?
* On the south side of the proposed Shelton Hills Project is the C Street Landfill. It is an unlined, unclosed landfill that may end up being a Superfund site once it is finally assessed. Little is known about the degree of contaminants, except the results of the only study on location; The National Dioxin Study. Dioxins/furans cause cancer. The dioxin results at the landfill were very concerning to the EPA. The study, in the 1980s, didn’t have to consider human health impact because of the unlikelihood of future development in that area. Simpson deposited a large amount of dioxin/furan laden ash in the 1970s and 80s. Rayonier had previously used it for possibly 20 years as a dumping ground for unknown chemicals and supplies. How do you adequately mitigate possible impact at a location, when the first step of assessments, have not been completed.
* On the north side of the Shelton Hills Property is Goose Lake. It has very hazardous sediment, ranking above National Cleanup Standards for a handful of hazardous substances. The Goose Lake site, and nearby upland property, were reportedly used as a disposal area for Rayonier’s waste from a calcium sulfide pulp mill. Thousands of tons of waste sulfite liquor were deposited from May 1931 to 1934 into the lake the Shelton Hills property.
* To the west of Goose Lake, on Shelton Hills property, more hazardous material was dumped from 1934-1943 in a series of upland lagoons that were constructed west of the lake. From May 1931 and until 1957, Rayonier reportedly disposed and periodically covered unknown quantities of solid waste from its pulp mill in Shelton, including wood debris, pulp by-products, building material, and incineration char. From 1936 to 1974, Rayonier disposed of solid waste from its Research Center including office and laboratory waste in a landfill area next to the lake. Small amounts of household waste were also reportedly dumped in the landfill area. The ravine, with its landfills, had some of the most contaminated soil tests of the whole area. Ecology required Rayonier Properties, LLC and Hall’s Equities LLC to take more tests to complete the first stage of testing. Those tests are incomplete at this time.
Why are they responsible when Goose Lake is not on their property? This is the concern stressed by some locals.
* Goose Lake is simply not just the lake…It is a site. Hall Equity bought part of the SITE in 2006 and were informed by Ecology in 2008 that they were now a Potentially Liable Person (PLP). They already knew this when they bought the property. They had signed a Covenant Not To Sue because of Hazardous Materials (2006).
What’s another part of the big deal?
* There are many incomplete ground water tests. This is the groundwater and contaminants that exist in the water of the critical aquifer recharge area. This very large, critical aquifer recharge area is a very susceptible to contaminants; recharging the community’s drinking water.
Watch the You Tube video…Lois Gibbs: 35 years later. Love Canal happened in New York many years ago but is similar to our situation. We both have buried chemicals, a water table that fluctuates 20 feet in a wet season, and both built or plan to build an adjacent school and residential area. They both had naysayers that warned of moving ahead, yet they proceeded with the project anyway. At the Love Canal, it was followed by years of miscarriages, deformities, diseases and death. Finally, the government had to buy all the property at fair market value. Do we want that for our community?
Why should you come to the meeting?
* We need your support. We need you to pass on this invitation/letter to others. Information is power! We need to empower the public…including you. We need your voice in what happens in our community! You may come to the meeting just to listen, or decide to voice your opinion. Each person will have a 5 minutes maximum time limit to speak.
Please…talk to your friends, family and neighbors. Share this on your Facebook page and email friends. Everyone needs to take responsibility to get the word out. I saw nothing in this week’s paper about this meeting, besides my letter to the editor. The title to my letter was changed , by the paper, to ‘Dreams and Schemes’. The real title was: Health Alert! “Hazardous Site” Development Proposed; Home for Local Children, Citizens and Businesses.
We must pack the audience. Information is power…without it you are powerless. Tired of things happening to you…out of your control…This meeting is so important! See you on Monday evening at 6…Civic Center in downtown Shelton! Please pass this on!
The disappointment on Terri Thompson’s face was palpable. The outrage expressed by her husband, Mark, on her behalf while at the podium was moving. Mark is always a quiet, restrained, though articulate speaker. Her words had fallen on the tin ears of the City Council, as expected. They ignored her poignant reminder of their role this evening was to consider the environmental impact, not jobs, real estate special interests, or the local economy. Just the health of the residents in the community and their families along with the significance the proposed development would have on the environment–that’s it! But, you can’t reason with a hog and it only annoys the pigheaded commissioners if you try.
Sherri Staley participated in the sidewalk rally opposing the approval of the FEIS as it stands currently. She refused to enter the City Hall chambers during the public hearing. She knew better and what to expect. She was correct. It was like watching an execution.
Katherine Price, who organized the rally protesting the City Council’s anticipated actions did not speak and left quickly after citizens concerned for the welfare of their families and neighbors were defeated.
The City Council members gave weak apologies in advance before cutting their constituents off at the knees. The usual assortment of special business interests and oily real estate pimps gave support to the wholesale theft and destruction of the commons, welcoming the economic opportunity of exposing feckless home buyers to the blessings of a steady diet of Dioxin.
Final Remedial Investigative Report by GeoEngineers
Goose Lake Site
Rayonier Properties, LLC (June 12, 2012)
Plaza 600 Building
600 Stewart Street, Suite 1700
Seattle, Washington 98101