Humboldt Bay Harbor, Conservation and Recreation District CEO Jack Crider led the tour, which included a pair of Humboldt County supervisors, a few harbor commissioners and representatives of the Headwaters Fund board.
Walking the group of about 15 people through the 72-acre property, Crider
showcased the good, the bad and the ugly -- explaining the problems that pushed the United States Environmental Protection Agency
to initiate an emergency response and the vast potential the district sees in the site.
led the tour out onto the shipping dock and through cavernous, sprawling industrial spaces, pointing out tanks storing caustic liquids and chemical-laden blue barrels with EPA stickers on them along the way.
Taylor Mariculture is planning to open a large oyster nursery at the site and lease part of the old mill facility, according to Crider
said there are real challenges, which is why the district refused to pay to acquire the site from Freshwater.
said closing mills generally wind production down, burning off most of the pulping liquors but leaving a small amount of concentrated, highly valuable liquors on the site.
has basically stabilized the site," Crider
Each barge shipment costs about $400,000, according to Crider
, and the district plans to cover the expenses by selling off parts from the old mill.
The EPA's response will include getting all the liquors off-site and destroying the old tanks.
Even after that's complete, the site has some other hurdles, such as ground contaminants, including possible dioxin, left behind by Louisiana Pacific.
said soil sample tests are currently underway to determine the extent of the brownfield cleanup.
The good news, he
said, is that Louisiana Pacific has so far taken responsibility for the site.
"They've been very responsive," he