Port Townsend Paper fined for water quality violations

Power outages among reasons for spill, says general manager

PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend Paper has been fined $27,000 by the state Department of Ecology for repeated water quality violations.

Ecology said in a press release that between November and March, the mill spilled more than 800 gallons of untreated process wastewater into Port Townsend Bay.

That exceeded the allowable pollution discharge levels of its water quality permit, Ecology said.

“The company has undertaken remedial measures to address the underlying issues that led to the violations, most of which were the result of power outages and other issues caused by the severe freeze that struck the area late last year,” said mill General Manager Nick Nachbar.

“Port Townsend Paper takes its environmental obligations seriously, and will continue to work to be an environmental steward of our community,” Nachbar said.

The permit requires that the paper mill treat its wastewater prior to discharging it because the solids and chemicals in the processed water can harm aquatic life.

The mill allegedly violated this permit at least 14 times warranting the fine, which they have 30 days to pay or appeal to the Pollution Control Hearings Board.

The funds from the fine have been placed in the state’s Coastal Protection Fund, which gives grants to public agencies and tribes for water quality projects, according to Ecology.

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