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Soil sampling is underway on the old Louisiana Pacific mill site in Crescent Mills to determine the extent of the toxicity and contamination of the site. Workers are seen here the week of Feb. 13. Photo submitted

Site work begins at old Louisiana Pacific sawmill site

After many years of little to no activity on the old Louisiana Pacific mill site in Crescent Mills, Indian Valley residents may have seen several workers and trucks on site over the last couple of weeks. These workers were performing soil sampling so the extent of contamination on site can be fully understood.

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment has been working to redevelop this abandoned “brownfield” into a wood products campus for a number of years, but efforts have been delayed as contaminated brownfields are a landmine of liability, according to Camille Swezy of the Sierra Institute.

“It’s no secret that the soil on site is contaminated, which is typical of abandoned sawmill properties. Low levels of arsenic, petroleum and dioxins remain in the soil from the historical sawmill practice of spreading oil and incinerator ash on the roadways for dust suppression purposes,” Swezy said.

Sierra Institute secured a grant in 2016 to fund additional soil and groundwater assessments, and on-the-ground sampling began last week. The assessment work is anticipated to run through summer, with development of a cleanup plan following shortly thereafter. Site cleanup needs to occur before development can begin.

The Sierra Institute intends to hold public meetings this spring and summer to brief the community on progress and to answer or address any questions or concerns.

For any questions on the sampling work or the Crescent Mills biomass project overall, contact Camille Swezy at [email protected].

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