County Commissioners call for moratorium on dumping wastewater bio-solids on lands along the Siletz River
After a number of public meetings attended by angry residents living along the Siletz River, the Lincoln County Commission has sent a strong letter to the Oregon Department of Environmental Protection, asking DEQ to stop local dumping of bio-solids that they believe are contaminating local ground water and the Siletz River itself.
These bio-solids are the left-overs after sewage is removed from wastewater produced by homes and businesses throughout Lincoln County. On the other hand, Siletz Valley farmers love the bio-solids because they are a powerful fertilizer for their crops. But residents contend that there are toxic chemicals that go along for the ride. And people get sick from it. Domestic wells are contaminated – the river ecology is changing and the residents want something done about it.
And now the Lincoln County Commission has joined in the movement to try to force the state to do something about it. The commissioners this week called for a moratorium on dumping bio-solids within the Siletz watershed. Commissioners contend that the dumping has gone on for quite a while with little to no over-sight by the state.
Although the commissioners called for a moratorium on dumping in the watershed, they said they’d temporarily settle for tighter restrictions on where bio-solids are applied and how much.
Failing that, the commissioners said DEQ should demand better record keeping among contractors that haul the material and spread it on Siletz Valley farmlands. Commissioners said, as a stop gap approach, that the bio-solids should not be applied to the ground within 500 feet of the Siletz River itself, or within 250 feet of any year-round tributary that drains into the Siletz River.
Commissioners also requested DEQ demand timely and detailed records of the strength and quantity of bio-solids that find their way into the Siletz River Valley eco-system/watershed.