Further clean-up of the former Colville Post and Poles business site may be needed to help remove soil and water contaminants left by the business over a 60-year period, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE). DOE will be conducting a remedial investigation in July and August to determine how much contaminants like pentachlorophenol (PCP), petroleum products, dioxins and furans are still present at the site.
Colville Post and Poles was just off HWY 395 north of Colville and already received a $4.5 million cleanup from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2005 and 2006. The business closed in 2005 after it was unable to afford upgrades to meet environmental standards, according to DOE. Contamination of the site was caused by leaking piping and drip pads over the years, in addition to a 1989 spill of pentachlorophenol (PCP) from an above-ground tank. The chemicals used by the business to treat wood products can cause serious complications to human health, including hormone disruption, liver changes, damage to the immune system, lung damage and fragile bones.
During the EPA cleanup, one nearby domestic well was found to be contaminated with low-level detections of site-related material, DOE said. The well has not been tested since the EPA cleanup, as the property owners have denied access.
DOE followed up the EPA clean-up efforts in 2015 and removed debris and concrete footings; stockpiled debris on tarps and did an initial assessment of soil and groundwater contamination. The investigation this summer will help the agency determine what further work may need to be done, said DOE Communications lead Brook Beeler.
“EPA conducted two removal actions called Phase I and Phase II. The purpose of these actions was to remove any immediate threat to human health and not necessarily to meet Washington State Cleanup Standards. The EPA actions likely removed the majority of contamination at the site,” said Beeler. “However, based on information EPA provided after their removal actions, some contamination above state standards remained at the site. Additional investigation, and possibly more cleanup work, is necessary for the site to be in compliance with state law, which will further protect humans, wildlife, the environment, and allow reuse of the site.”
The remedial study is expected to cost $200,000 and will install groundwater monitoring wells and conduct soil sampling to “define where the contamination ends,” DOE explained in a document on the testing. When the remedial study is completed, the investigation report will be available for public review and comment. For more information or to request a public meeting on the topic, contact Erika Bronson, Public Involvement Coordinator, at 509-329-3546 or email Erika.email@example.com.
By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff