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Former Highway 20 contractor to pay big environmental fine

Former Highway 20 improvement project contractor Granite Construction has settled with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to pay a $735,000 fine for allowing muddy construction water to flow into the Yaqina River and other streams important for fish spawning and habitat. Although Granite is no longer working on the project they agreed to pay the fine and to ensure that any future work they do in Oregon will be done with better trained workers. The story is in the Oregonian. Click here.

Wastewater overflows stop at Schooner and Big Creek


Big Creek Lift Station

Friday morning up date:

Public Works Director Tim Gross says a replacement portable pump was hooked-up at the Big Creek pump station this morning and it’s working fine. No more overflows at either Schooner Creek or Big Creek.

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Due to heavy rains and heavy infiltration problems from storm water getting into the regular sewer lines, both outflows to Agate and Schooner Creek beaches have discharged untreated wastewater into the ocean after our recent heavy rains.

Newport Public Works Director Tim Gross says the Big Creek pump station Friday morning received a portable bypass pump to help ensure flows go to the wastewater plant instead of over-spilling to Big Creek.

Gross said the long term plan is to replace the Big Creek pump station with new pumps with more pumping capacity to handle just about any flows Mother Nature can throw at it. However its not expected to be installed until next fall. In the meantime, a recently rebuilt pump will be inserted inside the current Big Creek station to do what it can to avert overflows until the new pump station is brought on line.

Lincoln City sewer overflow at Nelscott

From Lincoln City Public Works Director Lila Bradley

Subject: Report of Sewer Overflow at Nelscott

On Thursday, December 20, a sewer spill occurred when Lincoln City experienced a sustained rainfall measuring just over 5 inches in 24 hours.

The Nelscott Pump Station overflowed at the discharge point at SW 35th Street
into the Ocean. The effluent discharged at a rate of approximately 1,100 gallons
per minute for duration of approximately 5 hours at for a total of 792,000 gallons.

The affected areas surrounding the sites were immediately posted. Samples will
be taken regularly to determine safe bacteriological levels and the posted notices
will be removed once safe levels are met.

The City notified appropriate personnel at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Office of Emergency Response.

Sewage overflow into Newport’s Schooner Creek – Signs posted on beaches

From Newport Public Works Director Tim Gross

On Sunday, Dec. 16, the Schooner Lift Station located on the west end of NW 68th Street shut down due to an electrical failure. Earlier in the week, one of the pumps in the lift station was taken out of service due to a mechanical failure. Because of the age of the station, a special valve needed to be ordered which was due to arrive today. Yesterday an electrical fault to the remaining pump caused it to shut down. Operators responded yesterday afternoon but after many hours of work were unable to return the station to service. An electrician is on site working on the station now and hopefully it will be brought back online today.

The station is currently being bypassed pumped into Schooner Creek and discharging to the ocean. Advisory signs have been posted at Schooner Creek on the end of NW 68th Street warning of potential raw wastewater contamination. The postings will be removed when tests at the outfall indicate fecal levels are within acceptable limits. Please avoid contact with Schooner Creek where it discharges to the ocean until the advisory is lifted.

Tim Gross, Public Works Director, 541-574-3369.

DEQ issues fine to Corvallis woman for improperly demolishing her house in Newport

Mary Olive Matney of Corvallis has been fined $6,000 by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality for allowing an excavating company to improperly demolish a house she owned in Newport. DEQ said in a report that the house, which contained asbestos, was taken down by a company that did not have the proper license to deal with asbestos removal and containment.

DEQ says Dave Stafford Excavating began demolishing the house in October of 2011 and that during the project about five hundred square feet of asbestos-containing surface texture material was removed from the home at 724 NW 2nd. DEQ reported that the asbestos was allowed to remain on the ground, exposed to the air, at the project site.

DEQ said Asbestos fibers are a respiratory hazard that is proven to cause cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. The DEQ says asbestos is a danger to public health and is a hazardous air pollutant for which there is no known safe level of exposure.

Along with the fine levied against Matney, DEQ also issued Dave Stafford Excavating a penalty of $7,200 for removing asbestos without the proper license. DEQ did not levy a fine for leaving the asbestos on the ground. Meanwhile Matney hired a licensed asbestos removal contractor to properly remove the asbestos at the home site.

Matney has decided to appeal her $6,000 fine.

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