Mad River Union
GLENDALE – Soil and groundwater testing has shown low levels of contamination at a former lumber mill site in Glendale, prompting the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District to withdraw its appeal of county development permits.
A May 18 letter from the district’s contracted legal firm, Thomas Law Group, states that tests show pentachlorophenol (PCP) and dioxin levels to be “low at the site.”
But the letter adds that “The district notes there were some concerns with the laboratory calculations and reporting and it remains particularly concerned by the anomalous presence of dioxins in groundwater.”
The district filed its appeal last September in a challenge to the Planning Commission’s approval of four permits for a for three new buildings on a Glendale Drive parcel just east of the Route 299 Exit 4 onramp and off ramp.
The buildings will house enclosed butane cannabis manufacturing, and non-volatile cannabis manufacturing, processing and distribution facilities.
The project site was used for lumber storage by the former McNamara and Peepe Lumber Mill. By the time the mill changed ownership in 1986 and became Blue Lake Forest Products, use of the toxic wood preservative PCP had been banned.
But contamination remained and in the mid-1990s, the state ordered remedial actions, including capping at the main operations site.
As of 2003, the former mill’s storage and main operation sites were deemed to be free of contaminants. But in late 2018, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) declared that contaminants in the soil beneath the capped area had seeped into groundwater whose levels had risen.
Concerned about potential effects on drinking water sourced from the nearby Hall Creek, which flows into the Mad River, the district appealed the permit’s site development approvals. The letter states that the appeal’s withdrawal is “limited to the project site and the facts as currently known.”
The district may “make further legal demands” related to the site contamination and clean-up, the letter continues, and “looks forward to reviewing DTSC’s plans to investigate, monitor, and aggressively remediate the source/s of the contamination at the McNamara & Peepe site.”
The letter notes that the appeal-related testing was paid for by the cannabis manufacturing project’s applicant, Michael Brosgart, for which the district “expresses its appreciation.”