Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > Rubber debris litters miles of Puyallup River after artificial turf was used in dam project without
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PostThu Jul 29, 2021 11:08 am 
altasnob wrote:
"...and leave the taxpayers to clean up this mess..."
the taxpayers always are left paying for the clean up.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Schroder
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PostMon Jan 10, 2022 1:56 pm 
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Nearly 40 criminal charges have been filed against Electron Hydro and its chief operating officer, Thom Fischer, by Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson in connection with a spill of crumb rubber into the Puyallup River by the company during a construction project in summer 2020. The 36 gross misdemeanor charges were filed Monday in Pierce County Superior Court. The charges include violations of the state’s Water Pollution Control Act, the Shoreline Management Act and Pierce County Code.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/criminal-charges-filed-against-electron-hydro-exec-in-puyallup-river-spill/

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altasnob
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PostWed Jan 12, 2022 2:17 pm 
Here's the Affidavit of Probable Cause (summarizes the evidence against the CEO, who lives in Bellingham) filed in the criminal court case: https://linxonline.co.pierce.wa.us/linxweb/Case/CaseFiling.cfm?filing_type_desc=AFFIDAVIT%2FDETERMINATION%20FOR%20PROBABLE%20CAUSE&filing_id=56473979&case_type_cd=CRIM

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altasnob
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PostMon Feb 27, 2023 8:36 pm 
Dam operator reaches criminal settlement over Puyallup River rubber spill Electron Hydro will pay nearly $1 million in fines and restitution to settle a criminal lawsuit brought by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson over the July 2020 spill of rubber into the Puyallup River during a dam construction project. In the settlement Electron Hydro chief operating officer Thom Fischer pleaded guilty to a gross criminal misdemeanor, and would serve two years of probation. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/dam-operator-reaches-criminal-settlement-over-puyallup-river-rubber-spill/

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Slugman
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PostSun Mar 05, 2023 7:31 pm 
You want rubber debris in a river? Try the Samammish river just downstream from the off leash area in Marymoor park. There are hundreds of tennis balls and other dog toys along the banks, caught in weeds and driftwood, and just floating by. The pic is from today, just one tiny spot in a long stretch of trash. I used my grabber to get a bunch but the current was strong enough to hamper my efforts.

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Slugman
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PostTue Mar 14, 2023 4:41 pm 
All gone! Some friends of mine and I scoured the Samammish river of trash! The middle pic is my haul, today.

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PostWed Nov 22, 2023 8:36 am 
Electron Dam agrees to $1M fine for artificial turf spill on Puyallup River
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Electron Hydro LLC and its chief operating officer Thom Fischer have agreed to be fined more than $1 million for major violations of the Clean Water Act as part of a consent decree federal officials announced Tuesday. The civil fine is in connection with illegal use of thousands of yards of artificial turf put in the Puyallup River at the Electron Dam. The turf was intended to function as an underlay for a plastic liner atop it as part of a construction project. The turf tore apart, releasing hundreds of yards of plastic turf and toxic crumb rubber into the Puyallup River in the summer of 2020. On a visit to the river with Puyallup tribal officials just after the spill, waves of black rubber beads no bigger than a coffee ground washed up on the river’s shore and piled in pools. Ripped hunks of artificial turf hung up on riverside vegetation. Turf has since been found at least 5,000 feet — nearly a mile — from the site and crumb rubber at least 19 miles downstream, according to Environmental Protection Agency Region 10. Recovery of all that pollution is not possible. “Sadly, Electron Hydro’s and Mr. Fischer’s unfathomable violations will have lasting environmental impact on the Puyallup River and the fish and wildlife that rely on it,” Ed Kowalski, Director of the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division in EPA’s Region 10 office in Seattle said in a statement Tuesday. Fischer could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. The consent decree also requires Electron Hydro to take several actions to redress the harms for its violations, including: a continuous cleanup effort to remove as much turf as possible; preserving in perpetuity 70 acres along the Puyallup River to provide salmon habitat, and forgoing hydroelectric generation at the dam until the company removes thousands of yards of rock it also placed in the river in October 2020. The company also must also establish a phone line and web-based reporting tools for the public to report sightings of artificial turf. Hydro generation has been shut down at the facility since Puget Sound Energy cancelled its power purchase agreement with Electron Hydro after the incident. The dam, sold by PSE to Electron Hydro in 2014, was built in 1904. Artificial turf contains a wide range of toxic compounds, including plasticizers, zinc, lead, and other toxic compounds. Crumb rubber is made from waste tires that contain 6PPD, a chemical used in tire manufacturing. When 6PPD reacts with ozone, it forms 6PPD-q, which is toxic to salmon, trout, and many other fish and aquatic species. It is lethal to coho salmon. The Puyallup River, which flows into Puget Sound, is home to Chinook salmon, bull trout, and steelhead trout, all protected under the Endangered Species Act. The river is also home to coho, chum, and pink salmon, and cutthroat trout. The consent decree is the result of a settlement by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice negotiated with Electron Hydro and Fischer. In November 2020, the Justice Department filed a complaint in federal court. Aftersuccessful rulings in federal court, the EPA and Justice negotiated the settlement with Electron Hydro and Fisher. The agreement is memorialized in the consent decree announced and filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington. The consent decree is subject to a 45-day comment period and final court approval. The Washington Department of Ecology already has fined Electron Hydro, LLC, $501,000 in June, 2021 in connection with the incident. Sign up for Evening Brief Delivered weeknights, this email newsletter gives you a quick recap of the day's top stories and need-to-know news, as well as intriguing photos and topics to spark conversation as you wind down from your day. To avoid a trial on criminal charges brought by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Electron Hydro and Fischer previously pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor violation of operating an unlawful hydraulic project. On May 5, 2023, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Philip Sorenson sentenced Electron Hydro to pay $250,000 in penalties, the corporate maximum sentence, and Fischer to pay $5,000, the individual maximum. Fisher was also sentenced to 364 days in jail, suspended as long as he complies with his sentence and does not violate the law again. In addition, Electron Hydro was ordered to pay $745,000 in restitution to the Puyallup Tribal Fisheries. The Attorney General’s Office announced at the time that the $1 million was the largest fine and restitution paid for an environmental crime in Washington state law history. The company put down more than 2,400 square yards of the turf. The river shifted the liner and tore up the turf the night after it was installed. Electron Hydro did not report the incident to the state Department of Ecology or other permitting agencies. A worker at the dam reported what he had seen, first on social media then to Ecology. The Puyallup Tribe, which has treaty-protected fishing rights in the river, has demanded the dam be taken down.

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PostFri Feb 16, 2024 5:26 pm 
Looks like this was resolved in favor of the fish. Exactly what was resolved I'm not quite sure (see below). Kudos to Brian R. for predicting upthread that the tribe would win! clown.gif https://www.king5.com/article/tech/science/environment/electron-dam-remove-temporary-structure-puyallup-river/281-b44d0b09-d649-4e5a-8416-45a59b744a27 I was confused by this: "The court ruling means water will be able to flow naturally for the first time in almost 100 years, the attorneys of the tribe said in a press release. From the time the rock dam was proposed in 2020..." That was really confusing for me. If fish passage has been blocked for almost 100 years...um... what was all that stuff about the rock dam and the rubber pellets and whatnot? confused.gif Slapdash journalism I guess.

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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PostSat Feb 17, 2024 7:54 am 
The way I read it there has been some form of damn on that river since 1904. There was also no form of fish ladder until 2000, when a fish ladder was constructed. The damn that the judge just ordered removed was just a temporary damn put in place after the rubber Kingdome turf debris fiasco. So, after this temporary damn is removed, for a moment, there will be no form of damn on the river (for the first time in over 100 year). But the order does not preclude Electron from moving forward with its original plan to replace the dam with an inflatable bladder. The Puyallup Tribe has argued the bladder dam proposal would be an equally harmful alternative, and will continue to fight that in court as well. So the saga continues. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/judge-orders-breach-of-dam-at-hydroelectric-project-on-puyallup-river/ https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article285595007.html

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Ski
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PostFri Feb 23, 2024 7:02 pm 
the tribe will most likely prevail again, particularly after the disastrous consequences of Electron's negligence.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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