The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality once more fined the former owners of a lumber mill in Pilot Rock, this time for $20,273 for failing to report fires and make payments to shut down a landfill across the street.

The department announced the fine Nov. 10.

Kinzua Resources still owns the dump site, said Bruce Lumper, a solid-waste permit specialist with the environmental quality department office in The Dalles. Kinzua Resources sold the lumber mill in June 2009 to Boise Cascade, which renamed it Kinzua Lumber. 

While it owned the mill, Kinzua Resources used a 19-acre lot across Northwest Cedar Street to dump wood waste. 

In addition to Kinzua Resources LLC, the environmental quality department is holding five other parties accountable. Officially, the Kinzua Resources limited liability corporation dissolved, Lumper said, so the department is also fining the individual members of the corporation: ATR Services Inc., of Veneta; Gregory M. Demers, of Veneta; Frontier Resources LLC, of Eugene; Edward?J. King, of Eugene; and Jeffrey D. Demers, of Veneta.

The dumpsite permit dates to 1993 and the first owner, Louisiana Pacific. Kinzua Resources has held it since 2006.

The permit requires Kinzua Resources to set aside money to eventually close the landfill. The money is paid to the environmental quality department.

Since about 2007, Kinzua Resources has failed to pay, Lumper said. He said the department has tried to no avail to get Kinzua Resources to pay and fined the company $15,473.

“We’re at the worst-case scenario we don’t like to get ourselves into and rarely do,” Lumper said. “This one was an anomaly.”

Kinzua Resources also failed to provide a required plan to close the landfill. Lumper said it can either close the site itself or remove the waste.

To close it, Kinzua Resources would need to put a 24-inch-thick soil cap over the debris, compact it and plant vegetation. The site would require proper drainage to keep water away from the soil cap. All that could cost $250,000 or more, Lumper said.

A cheaper option may be to remove the waste. Kinzua Resources could separate materials like larger wood chunks, rocks and soil, and sell them off, Lumper said. 

The department is also fining Kinzua Resources for failing to notify the department of fires on the dump site. 

Lumper said the slope of the landfill and its moisture content causes it to get hot. On a breezy day, it can spontaneously combust. 

Last April the environmental quality department fined Kinzua Resources $20,629 for not properly putting out fires. 

Since then, Lumper said, Kinzua Resources hired Hatley Construction, also on Northwest Cedar Street, to keep an eye on the site and put out fires.

“Before, we never knew they happened,” Lumper said. “The only reason we’d hear about it was we heard complaints from the neighbors.”

And that is the problem. Kinzua Resources is supposed to notify the department of any fires. That part of the fine totals $4,800.

Lumper hopes these fines will motivate Kinzua Resources, or the members of the former corporation, to finish things up at that dump site.

“The big issue that remains is if that gets closed or removed,” Lumper said. “Either one will end that threat of a fire.”

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