Environmental fines for two Medford area companies
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued 12 penalties totaling $112,576 for various environmental violations state wide.
In Southern Oregon two companies made the list including:
Erickson Incorporated, $3,400, Medford (hazardous waste)
Knife River Corporation-Northwest, $23,461, Central Point (stormwater)
In a press release, DEQ said the fines were delivered between February 2 and 28 and ranged from $1,050 to $23,461. Alleged violations included failing to hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor, operating a landfill gas collection system without an air quality permit and failing to properly maintain underground fuel storage tanks.
Chris Schuldt Chief of Staff and Sr. Director of Marketing and Communications for Erickson Inc. said they've paid the state's fine and have made corrective action.
“Erickson was storing sandblasting media used for stripping paint from aircraft components at our facility," Schuldt said. "Storage was conducted in a contained area. Following a DEQ inspection, we were alerted additional actions were required with regard to properly identifying the hazardous nature of the waste and properly labeling the containers used for storage. In cooperation with the DEQ, Erickson disposed of the hazardous materials in accordance with the DEQ’s guidance. Erickson has revised its procedures for storage and disposal of this material to ensure compliance moving forward."
Tony Spilde, Director of Communications and Marketing from Knife River Corporation - Northwest issued a statement to News 10 regarding their violation Monday:
"In the spring of 2018, we had readings of elevated pH in our mined-out South Parker Pit in Central Point. After we discovered this, we applied a pH neutralizer to bring the levels back into allowable limits. The South Parker Pit water was always completely contained to our site."
Spilde said Knife River hired a third party to sample monitoring wells, and the readings were normal, according to the statement.
"In addition, pH testing was performed in nearby waterways, including Bear Creek and the Rogue River, which confirmed that pH levels were normal.
The cause of the elevated pH appears to have been water and concrete material we were washing out from our trucks at the end of the day; some of that water and material migrated from the concrete plant area to the process-water containment area in the South Parker Pit. We have adjusted our processes so that type of situation will not reoccur," Spilde said in a statement.
Knife River has been working with DEQ and DOGAMI on the issue and continue to meet with them to ensure they're using best management practices, according to Spilde.
"This pH situation certainly wasn’t intentional, and we have learned from it," Spilde said. "We have permanently installed electronic monitors on-site to continue to make sure the pH levels stay in the allowable range."
Article was update with response from Erickson Inc.