SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard has announced the agencies will begin removing millions of gallons of hazardous materials and toxic sludge from the former Samoa Pulp Mill site in Samoa, Calif. as part of a joint cleanup effort, according to a press release.
“Removing this massive toxic legacy from the Humboldt Bay shoreline will ensure the safety of residents and protection for the environment and wildlife,” said EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Jared Blumenfeld. “The livelihood of thousands of Northern Californians relies on the health of this bay, so it is critical we begin this clean up now.”
“Protecting the sensitive habitats and economic values of Humboldt Bay and the Pacific Ocean from these caustic chemicals is a top priority,” said U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA-2). “I am thrilled with the quick response from the community and from the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard in handling what otherwise could have led to the disastrous pollution of these precious resources.”
From its investigation, EPA determined all storage tanks holding the hazardous waste were leaking or failing, and several of the tanks posed an immediate risk to human health and the environment due to potential runoff from the site to Humboldt Bay, which is only 800 feet from the site, the release reported.
Waste from the site will be trucked to a facility in Longview, Wash. for treatment and reuse, continued the release, and following site cleanup, the Harbor District of Humboldt Bay plans to reuse the site for aquaculture purposes, including the oyster and caviar farming.
Read the full release here.