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Elgin, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a $90,688 penalty to Boise Cascade Wood Products for stormwater and wastewater violations. Boise Cascade operates a stud mill and plywood manufacturing facility at 90 S. 21st Street in Elgin, Ore.

Boise Cascade Wood Products discharged wastewater to Philips Creek in March and April of 2017. The company discharged the wastewater without a permit and violated water quality standards for dissolved oxygen, turbidity and E. coli bacteria.

The company discharged industrial stormwater to sloughs along the Grande Ronde River in February 2017 without a permit.

Turbidity may be harmful to aquatic life in several ways. It absorbs heat from sunlight, which increases water temperature and decreases the amount of dissolved oxygen the water can hold. It can also decrease photosynthesis, which may further decrease dissolved oxygen levels. Elevated turbidity can smother fish and aquatic insect eggs and clog fish gills. It can also result in diminished food sources and increased difficulties for fish to find food.

Bacteria standards are intended to prevent the risk and spread of disease. Contact with contaminated water can lead to skin infections, respiratory diseases and other illnesses.

DEQ issued the penalty because stormwater and wastewater discharges can harm aquatic species and threaten human health. The violations occurred in Phillips Creek, which is designated as an active spawning area for trout. The waters of the Grande Ronde, including Phillips Creek, are known for water recreation, which can include human contact with water.

View the notice of civil penalty: https://www.oregon.gov/deq/nr/020518Boise.pdf

Contact
Greg Svelund, Public Affairs Specialist, Bend, 541-633-2008, svelund.greg@deq.state.or.us

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Environment & Energy
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