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Landfill Containment of Hazardous Waste

Since 1974, pulp and paper mill refuse has been discharged to an industrial landfill site, known as Block 105, on the side of Mt Hankin off of Franklin River Road just south of town.

Landfill permit #1751, most recently amended in 1996, includes authorizations for dumping fly ash, wood waste, primary and secondary effluent treatment sludges, asbestos, log pond dredgate, and general pulp and paper mill and sawmill refuse, excluding putrescibles and special wastes.

The original landfill site is quite low on the mountain slope and was permanently closed in 1990. The extent and nature of hazardous waste disposal here is unclear.

Phase 1 of the next landfill development is higher up on the hill and was active from 1989 to 2004.

The current site is higher still, and has been used since 2004.

Site management includes settling ponds for surface runoff and quarterly monitoring for metals, pH, and chemical oxygen demand.

Basically, all of the toxic air emissions caught in the electrostatic precipitator are deposited with the fly ash to the landfill along with boiler ash and sludge. This includes persistent and bioaccumulative hazardous materials such as heavy metals and dioxins.

The main concern regarding Block 105 is potential health and environmental risks posed by any movement of these materials into the air, rivers, ocean, and/or food chain.

Another concern, which is not unique to this pulp and paper operation, is possible mill closure leaving the legacy of a contaminated site. There is no clear liability or responsibility for maintenance, clean-up, and remediation of mill sites that have been closed