Thousands of tons of hazardous materials still need to be removed from Samoa Pulp Mill
SAMOA- Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency began the process to remove hazardous materials from the Samoa Pulp Mill last November. They began the process after making an assessment and determining there were imminent threats to the environment and the public.
EPA officials say all of the acid has been removed from the site for disposal, after the last shipment of about 2,500 gallons was made on Tuesday. However, there is still more work to be done.
More than 10,000 gallons of acid have been removed from the Samoa Pulp Mill for disposal since November. In addition, 300,000 gallons of pulping liquor has been shipped to a paper company in Washington, with about 2.7 million gallons of pulping liquor still to be shipped. Three thousand tons of contaminated debris and 10,000 tons of corrosive sludge still need to be removed from the site for disposal, as well. That process is expected to be finished in November.
"We're taking extreme precautions to do this in a very deliberate and safe fashion. The pace that we're going at I think is appropriate to the conditions that we're faced with and it's moving along at a very nice pace so far," said Steve Calanog, the Federal On-Scene Coordinator with the EPA.
The EPA, with the assistance of some state and local agencies, are continuing to investigate the Evergreen Pulp Company for any potential liability. EPA officials say when the company left the Samoa Pulp Mill in 2008, they left all the materials on site. EPA officials also say no contamination has been detected in the ocean or in Humboldt Bay at this time.