Grays Harbor PUD partners with City of Hoquiam to begin cleanup at Harbor Paper

The Grays Harbor PUD has taken a significant step to fulfill its responsibilities to clean and remove bi-products from the former Harbor Paper mill site.  In the next three weeks, over 28-million gallons of treated water will be pumped from holding basins at the Harbor Paper facility into the City of Hoquiam’s sewage treatment system.

In cooperation with the City of Hoquiam, 775 feet of eight-inch high density pipe is now connecting the facility’s secondary treatment pump house with the city’s sanitary sewer system.  Gradually, water from the facility’s aeration basin, primary clarifier and secondary clarifiers will be pumped into the city’s treatment system for disposal.

“We are grateful to the City of Hoquiam for their assistance in helping the PUD move forward with its responsibilities at the Harbor Paper site,” said PUD General Manager Dave Ward.  “We have a responsibility to clean our share of the site, but our first responsibility is to our ratepayers, to ensure that the project is completed at the lowest possible cost.  With the help of the city, we are meeting both obligations.”

The 28.25 million gallons of water represents the last water to be treated at the Harbor Paper facility.  Prior to the elimination of electrical services at the facility in September of 2013, the system was flushed over a seven-day period to remove any organic materials.  The water now held in the basin and clarifiers has been tested by the City of Hoquiam and found to be essentially free of contaminants.

The removal of water from the Harbor Paper site is the first significant step in the PUD’s clean-up of products accumulated over the past 20 years of paper production.  Under its agreement with Rayonier Properties, LLC, the PUD is obligated to clean and remove the facility’s water treatment system and remove solid bi-products including piles of bark/rock mixture, sand ash and  boiler grate material.  PUD staff is working to fulfill those responsibilities in a way that meets their obligations while having the least possible impact on the PUD’s customers.