Life and Death in a Maine Mill Town

A powerful story that resonates here in our world of paper mills.

Yet it’s almost impossible to draw a straight line from our mill to cancer. Someone leaves town. They get cancer. Some people never leave. They get cancer. Or vice versa. My grandmother smoked.. She didn’t get cancer. You work in a paper mill like my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, you get cancer. Some people do not. At least not yet. There are long delays between environmental exposures and cancer, too long to calculate, and each cancer comes with individual risk factors, symptoms, causes. If you think your town contains a cancer cluster, consider the criteria: clusters require a greater-than-expected number of cancers in a narrowly defined group, i.e., the people must have the same type of cancer, in a limited geographic area, over a limited period of time, and all these factors have factors, including the limitations of science itself. In addition, if several family members get cancer, it doesn’t count toward the cluster evidence you need. Ordinary cancers don’t count either. And it doesn’t appear the CDC analyzes how individual bodies respond to specific environmental factors. And even if a cancer cluster is found in your neighborhood, they may not be able to determine the exact cause or do anything about it. One in three people develop cancer over their lifetime, so maybe the question is, when will we get cancer?

Port Townsend mill fined $30,000 for air pollution – WA Department of Ecology

Washington Department of Ecology – NEWS

April 20, 2017

Contact:

Andrew Wineke, communications, 360-407-6149, @ecologyWA

Corrosion led to leak in duct; stuck damper allowed second release

PORT TOWNSEND – The Port Townsend Paper Corporation has been fined $30,000 by the Washington Department of Ecology for two incidents in 2016 that led to emissions from the plant bypassing its control systems.

The first release happened in August after corrosion created a 1-inch hole in a duct at the plant, allowing small-particle pollution and other emissions to escape. The leak represented less than 1 percent of the plant’s emissions, and an assessment by an Ecology toxicologist indicated it did not pose a threat to human health. Because of the difficulty in reaching and repairing the leak, it was not fixed until the plant shut down for scheduled maintenance in September.

The second release occurred in November, when a damper in one of the plant’s main exhaust stacks became stuck, allowing some of the emissions to escape. Routine testing revealed the issue, and the plant corrected the problem after receiving the results.

“Proper maintenance and oversight of emissions equipment is an essential part of operating a pulp and paper mill,” said James DeMay, manager of Ecology’s Industrial Section, which regulates the plant. “Port Townsend Paper has made improvements to its procedures that should help to prevent similar problems in the future.”

The company may appeal Ecology’s penalty within 30 days to state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board.

“These issues were corrected in a timely manner and we have made the necessary improvements to prevent a reoccurrence,” said Mike Craft, mill manager at Port Townsend Paper. “We appreciate Ecology’s cooperation and acknowledgment that the release did not pose a threat to human health.”

 

Lack of water could temporarily shut down Port Townsend Paper Corp. mill – PDN

Charlie Berman reports on the ongoing discussions between the city of Port Townsend and the PT Paper Mill Corp. As stated in the article, it appears that the City is using approx. 2 Million gallons a day (previous estimates I’ve read placed it at 1 M gallons but perhaps this is based on older information). The mill uses approx 8 Million gallons a day currently,and even in temporary shutdown could still use a significant amount. Read the whole story and support local journalism by subscribing to the Peninsula Daily News.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150720/NEWS/307209975/lack-of-water-could-temporarily-shut-down-port-townsend-paper-corp

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