Samoa Pulp Mill

All POL/SITREP's for this site Samoa Pulp Mill
Samoa, CA - EPA Region IX
Final Polrep
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Samoa Pulp Mill - Removal Polrep
Final Removal Polrep

Region IX

Subject: POLREP #21
Final Polrep
Samoa Pulp Mill

Samoa, CA
Latitude: 40.8049600 Longitude: -124.1933100

To: Harry Allen, EPA Region 9
Peter Guria, EPA Region 9
Dan Meer, EPA Region 9

From: Christopher Weden, OSC
Date: 6/9/2016
Reporting Period: 5/31-6/10/2016

1. Introduction
  1.1 Background
Site Number: A949    Contract Number: EP-S9-12-01
D.O. Number: 0937    Action Memo Date: 7/30/2014
Response Authority: CERCLA    Response Type: Emergency
Response Lead: EPA    Incident Category: Removal Action
NPL Status: Non NPL    Operable Unit:
Mobilization Date: 9/30/2013    Start Date: 10/1/2013
Demob Date:      Completion Date: 6/30/2016
ERNS No.:    State Notification:
FPN#:    Reimbursable Account #:

1.1.1 Incident Category 

Emergency Response

1.1.2 Site Description
The Samoa Pulp Mill Site is a 70 acre former industrial pulp manufacturing facility.  The pulp mill was constructed in 1963 by Georgia Pacific.  In the early 1970's Louisiana Pacific acquired and ran the facility until 1990.  From 1990 until 2008 various smaller groups owned and operated the facility.  The last operating owner of the facility was the Evergreen Pulp Company which ran the facility until 2008.  Evergreen experienced financial difficulties and "walked away" from the mill site without properly closing operations.  Sometime in 2009 a venture group called Freshwater Tissue Company purchased the facility site with intent of converting to a tissue mill.  This quickly failed to reach fruition and Freshwater began scrapping the facility and consolidating hazardous waste.  In August of 2013 Freshwater Tissue Company sold the facility to the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District (the “Harbor District”). The facility is currently staffed with 2 part-time Humboldt Bay Harbor District employees. Location

The Samoa Pulp Mill Site is located within Humboldt County in Samoa, CA.  The Site is approximately 70 acres of industrial pulp processing operations and is situated on the North Spit of Humboldt Bay.  The facility is on the shore line of Humboldt Bay and has an industrial wharf on the Bay.  The Pacific Ocean is located within 800 yds to the west of the facility. Description of Threat

The primary concern was 11 ASTs containing approximately 3 million gallons of highly caustic liquids (pH greater than 13).  Five of these ASTs were not designed to store caustic liquids and periodic seismic activity (6.8 earthquake occurred off coast of Humboldt Co. 3/9/2014) caused grave concern regarding their stability.  Additionally, there were a half dozen ASTs containing 2000-3000 gallons of sulfuric acid (pH less than 1), 3,000 tons of corrosive sludges in uncontained areas, approximately 3000 gallons of turpentine, and several thousand containers of various types (i.e., compressed gas cylinders, paints/thinners, mercury containing gauges and equipment).

1.1.3 Preliminary Removal Assessment/Removal Site Inspection Results

Please refer to previous Polreps

2. Current Activities
  2.1 Operations Section

2.1.1 Narrative

The first five tanks of pulping liquor transferred for reuse were the tiled concrete tanks (Tile Tanks).  These tanks were never intended to store the black and green pulping liquors that were transferred into them by Freshwater Tissue Company.  The decision to start with these tanks was based on a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred off the coast of Humboldt County on March 10, 2014 (see Polrep 7) and the fact that this earthquake had caused more cracks and resultant leaks.  Once the Tile Tanks were emptied our contractor began moving liquors from the remaining tanks that were constructed of steel.  The Tile Tanks were never cleaned of the pulp slurry residue. 


The tops of the Tile Tanks are made of fiberglass and are in various states of decay and disrepair.  This allowed rainwater in and over the course of the past two years, several feet of rainwater accumulated inside them.  The pH of the contaminated rainwater was approximately 11-12.  This rainwater was neutralized with citric acid and sprayed around the southwest corner of the site.


The pH of the pulp slurry that remains in the Tile Tanks is 7-9 and is non-hazardous waste. 


2.1.2 Response Actions to Date

 2.1.3 Enforcement Activities, Identity of Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs)

An Agreement on Consent with the Harbor District was signed in early 2015.

2.1.4 Progress Metrics

Waste Stream Medium Quantity Manifest # Treatment Disposal Recycled
Pulping Liquors  liquids 3M gallons        3 million gallons.
Kapstone Paper Company, Longview, WA
Sulfuric Acid - Re-usable  liquids 6k gallons       Purchased by Valley Acid, Stratford, CA (11/13)
Sulfuric Acid - Waste  liquids 4k gallons    x  x  21st Century Environmental Management of CA, LP
Hydrochloric Acid - Waste  liquids 2,100 gallons 011138259 JJK  x  x  
Non-hazardous corrosive sludges solidified 7109  tons      x  Recology, Vacaville, CA
Subtitle D facility
Turpentine liquids 3k gallons        
Lab Chemicals various ~2k containers 0000990296DAT   x  x  21st Century Environmental Management of CA, LP
"HHW" type various ~2k containers        See "Disposal Table March 15-19, 2016" in Document section of webpage
Hg debris solid 2 drums of drebris  On file      Clean Harbors
Waste oils liquids ~2k gallons        ~200 gallons removed by Asbury Environmental for recycling
 Hg elemental  liquid  250 lbs       Retired at Bethleham Apparatus via Stericycle
Hazardous corrosive sludges  solidified  ~3500 tons        US Ecology - Beatty, NV
and Kettleman Hills
 Non-hazardous corrosive liquids liquid 45,968 gallons         US Ecology - Beatty, NV
 Hazardous corrosive liquids liquid 105,198 gallons        US Ecology - Beatty, NV
 Sulfuric acid tank bottoms  sludge  14 over-packed drums        Clean Harbors
 Steel   3464 tons        Recycled at SIMS Metals in Richmond, CA
Stainless Steel    84 tons         Recycled at SIMS Metals in Richmond, CA

  2.2 Planning Section
     No further action planned.

  2.3 Logistics Section
    No information available at this time.

  2.4 Finance Section
    No information available at this time.

  2.5 Other Command Staff
    No information available at this time.

3. Participating Entities
  3.1 Unified Command

USEPA Federal On-Scene Coordinator

3.2 Cooperating Agencies

Humboldt Bay Harbor District

Samoa Volunteer FD

4. Personnel On Site

At the end of this reporting period after various demobilizations.
1 - OSC

2 - PST

1 - HBHD

 7 - ERRS (5 - EQM, 2 - Global )

5. Definition of Terms
  No information available at this time.

6. Additional sources of information
  No information available at this time.

7. Situational Reference Materials
  No information available at this time.