Washington Department of Ecology
Photo courtesy: Washington Department of Ecology

Submitted by Washington Department of Ecology 

Two southwest Washington companies have developed and submitted a plan for closing and cleaning up three solid waste storage facilities in Lewis County. The Washington Department of Ecology is making the plan available for public review and comment now through August 7.

Under the proposed closure plan, Emerald Kalama Chemical and Fire Mountain Farms would properly remove and dispose of 20,100 cubic yards of mixed material and an undetermined amount of contaminated soil in a licensed solid waste landfill. All liquid waste would be treated in Emerald Kalama Chemical’s industrial wastewater treatment facility in Cowlitz County. The closure and cleanup is specific to the facilities owned and operated by Fire Mountain Farms at Newaukum Prairie, Burnt Ridge, and Big Hanaford.

“We believe the closure plan submitted by the two responsible parties will allow for the safe disposal of this material and cleanup of the property,” said James DeMay, Ecology’s Industrial Section Manager. “It’s important for the public to review the proposed plan and let us know what they think of it.”

Review the closure plan and submit comments

The public is invited to review the closure plan and related documents online and submit comments by August 7, 2020. After evaluating all public comments, Ecology will make a final decision on the proposed closure plan and either approve it or require the companies to revise it.

To request ADA accommodation, contact Ecology’s ADA Coordinator by email at ecyadacoordinator@ecy.wa.gov, or call 360-407-6831, 711 (relay service), or 877-833-6341 (TTY). Para asistencia en español: preguntas@ecy.wa.gov.

About the mixed material

The mixed material being stored at the three Lewis County locations was registered as a fertilizer with the Washington State Department of Agriculture between 2001 and 2002, but then the registration was not renewed. Ecology uncovered the lapsed registration during a 2014 review and ordered the companies to stop mixing and land applying it.

After collecting data showing the mixed material does not contain chemicals at levels considered dangerous, Emerald Kalama and Fire Mountain Farms filed petitions in 2018 to change its waste classification to solid waste. Ecology and the U.S. EPA approved the petitions earlier this year after holding concurrent, 30-day public comment periods on the proposed change.

The one-time change in waste classification gives the companies a single opportunity to safely dispose of the mixed material as solid waste and mitigate any damage done where it was stored.

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