Port Townsend Paper fined $346,000 for 18 year Clean Air Violation

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Port Townsend Paper Corporation settles with EPA for violation of Clean Air Act


According to a Peninsula Daily News report today, Sunday June 9, 2019, Port Townsend Paper has just been fined $346,000 by the EPA for toxic fumes that have been known to be escaping from their M&D digester since at least 2001.

That’s the biggest fine that has been levied on the Port Townsend Paper mill that we know of. The clear-eyed view: $346k over 18 years works out to under $20k per year. Our noses tell us that it was probably going on for much longer. A big fine finally and the fact that PTPC is shutting down the digester is GREAT progress, so THANK YOU, EPA. A big plus is that this validates what we all have been saying for lo, these many years, and no doubt helped come to light by our constant, consistent pressure on agencies and officials, keeping them aware that we have a real problem.

We’d like to see agencies require action early when a violation is discovered, and levy fines that increase at regular intervals until they fix it. That would solve the problem a lot sooner and keep us healthier. As early as 1993, PTPC itself identified the M&D digester as one of the biggest sources of identifiable stink from the mill. (PTPC’s 1993 “Mill Odor” study.)

The PLUS is that EPA came forth and put a stop to it. So thank you, EPA.

Gotta love the spokesperson’s response: We were going to shut the M&D digest down anyway, so it’s not a big deal. At least the EPA got on it while the mill could still be caught red-handed.

Kudos to the EPA and to all of our active air watching and reporting activists.

Thanks to the PDN for great reporting.


  1. Jane Doe

    The cluster rule violation that was used to fine PTPC has nothing to do with Air watcher pressure. The DOE and EPA have inspected PTPC many times in the past 20 years and no violation was found. Take a look at other mills in the USA that have recently been fined under this interpretation technicality – the complaint is about capture medium and routing of continuous sawdust digesters gasses (not the batch digester you have pictured). Odor is not a part of the equation.

    1. Post
      PT AirWatchers

      The picture is intended as an illustration of mill equipment from that era. Thanks for providing info on the equipment shown (I actually like the Willy Wonka aspect of heavy machinery, so it is of interest!). How do you see the violation as a technicality? And, what other mills have been fined?

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