Trucks have hauled about half of the pulping liquors besieging the grounds of the Samoa Pulp Mill away, and the crawl of tankers continues steadily up to Longview, Washington, where the liquors are being refined and reused by a mill.
Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District CEOJack Crider said the process has been smooth except for a three-week period where the boiler at the destination mill underwent repairs. That shutdown had a silver lining though, as workers on the Samoa site were able to go home for a while. “A lot of those folks had been on property there for four months,” Crider said. “There’s somewhere between a dozen and 20 people. Add that along with the truck drivers we’re actually creating a little bit of an economic boom.”
The Harbor District is working to lease a portion of the property to Coast Seafoods, which will have a footprint on the property similar to Taylor Shellfish, which will also produce oysters at the former pulp mill site.
A pellet manufacturer has also agreed to lease space at the mill, and Crider said another promising business is in talks as well, though he couldn’t identify the business because of a non-disclosure agreement.
As things hum along, Crider said the Environmental Protection Agency is continuing its investigation into Evergreen, the company that abandoned the mill in 2008.
The Harbor District, in agreeing to take the mill site, assumed responsibility of hauling the liquors off site. The costs of the other cleanup, Crider said, should fall to Evergreen. “We feel very strongly that they are the responsible party.”