The state has fined a Eugene wood treatment plant more than $200,000 for hazardous waste and water quality violations that regulators say occurred over the last five years.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued J.H. Baxter & Co. $223,440 in fines Wednesday for violations that included the illegal treatment of 1.7 million gallons of hazardous waste between 2015-19 and two unpermitted discharges of untreated storm water in 2019, The Register-Guard reported.
DEQ also is ordering the company to create plans for investigating and sampling to better understand and mitigate the environmental impacts of the violations.
“J.H. Baxter & Co. has always done our best to comply with regulatory requirements,” company president Georgia Baxter, said in a statement. “To that end we continue to work with the DEQ site clean-up program and the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency’s Cleaner Air Oregon program. We care about the health and well being of our neighbors and employees and will continue to work diligently to protect human health and the environment.”
J.H. Baxter & Co. can request a hearing to dispute DEQ’s claims but it wasn't clear if the company plans to do so.
The plant has operated since the 1940s and has a history of environmental problems. Most recently, DEQ and the Oregon Health Authority began investigating elevated levels of dioxins, a group of toxic chemical compounds, in soil samples taken as part of a 2019 cleanup mandate at the plant.