October 30, 2003
Department of Natural Resources Region No. 4
Fredonia, Washington 06471
Re: Future Disposal of Fly Ash
Dear Mr. Fenkel:
I am writing in reference to the recent citation Farnsworth Paper Works, Inc. received regarding
its fly ash dump. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is understandably concerned
about the drainage of leachate from fly ash into the local lake. Farnsworth hopes to reassure the
DNR that the surrounding environment is safe, and we also hope that this unfair
misunderstanding is resolved.
We recognize that the DNR assumes necessary precautions to prevent ecological hazards, and
Farnsworth has done its best to maintain a clean, nonpolluting, and safe plant operation.
However, it appears that different regional managers and different engineers are letting some
companies off the hook. This inconsistent and unfair negligence may cause non-cited companies
to slack, thereby perpetuating hazards to the environment.
After a brief investigation of a number of companies, I found that the Richter Corporation, which
is located in the same DNR region as Farnsworth, was approached about their fly ash dump as
well. Jim Fleshman, the company’s chief environmental engineer, informed me that while they
too have been pressured to move to a Type II fill, they have neglected to do so. Surprisingly,
similar situations were repeated with the other companies, and it appears as though different
DNR engineers in various regions are inconsistent in recommending methods of fly ash disposal.
Farnsworth found, through further investigation, three other companies with situations similar to
Richter’s. Ashland Products, a company that dumps ash from a bark-burning boiler, was
reassured by the DNR that a Type III landfill was suitable. They produced approximately the
same amount of fly ash as Farnsworth, yet they have not been required to switch to a Type II
landfill. Freedom Power Company currently has a permit to...