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Dredging proposed to ease Willamette waste plume

Published on December 25, 2012 3:01AM

Last changed on December 25, 2012 12:09PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- The owner of a pulp mill upstream of Corvallis has proposed a major dredging in the Willamette River to resolve a pollution dispute.

Cascade Pacific Pulp has applied for a permit to remove gravel that amounts to 1,900 dump truck loads, the Corvallis Gazette-Times (http://bit.ly/T71J6j ) reports.

The buildup of a gravel bar has reduced the flow of water to what's called a "mixing zone" for the effluent from the pulp mill and an adjoining Georgia-Pacific tissue plant near Halsey.

In August, the environmental group Willamette Riverkeeper warned it would sue over a dark, foul-smelling waste plume in the river.

The two mills have a combined permit to discharge up to 17,000 pounds of effluent a day. The mixing zone is about 15 miles upstream from Corvallis, which gets 70 percent of its municipal water supply from the river.

The growing gravel bar has reduced the river's flow at the structures where water from the plants is taken in and waste is pumped into a mixing zone that dilutes it. The reduced flow has also resulted in a concentration of the effluent from the two mills.

The group and a lawyer for Cascade Pacific Pulp said settlement talks are going well.

Riverkeeper director Travis Williams said there were "a couple of sticking points" but said he was optimistic those could be worked out.

"Negotiations are progressing, and we hope to have the matter resolved soon," said Laura Maffei of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt in Portland.

The dredging permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would allow removal of up to 22,600 cubic yards of material.


Information from: Gazette-Times, http://www.gtconnect.com

Copyright 2012 The AP.


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