Take two actions to report the mill’s stink and its effect on you
- Contact WA Dept of Ecology — the card above gives the basics. See below for details.
- Join MillOdorous on Facebook to add pins to a community map that goes monthly to officials including city council, county commissioners, health department, hospital and others.
To report odors that you believe are coming from the Port Townsend Paper Mill
(contacts and required information have been obtained from WA Dept of Ecology Industrial Section, the department charged with overseeing the mill, tailored here for easy use):
Let “DRAT” be your guide:
Description – Rating (1mild to 10horrible) – Address – Time
Copy this template and use it to email or call in your report to WA Dept of Ecology:
To: Angie Fritz <firstname.lastname@example.org>, WA Dept of Ecology Industrial Section public liaison (360) 407-7393
or Shingo Yamazaki <email@example.com , permit writer (360) 407 – 7536
Subject: PTPC pollution report, date(s) ___
- Intensity (1-low, 10-high)
- Odor description
- Did it affect — [ ] health ; [ ] use or enjoyment of property or business ; [ ] was it a nuisance?
- What was its effect?
- Was there noise, haze or other?
Ecology tracks all complaints received and requires PTPC to investigate and report mill conditions at the time of the complaint. Ecology uses the information to look at the effectiveness of odor reduction efforts at the mill. We also consider the complaint data in enforcement decisions, as applicable, and make the data available to public health agencies. [emphasis added]
We don’t prioritize calling PTPC (360) 379-4224 as it doesn’t trigger action as effectively, only being sent to Ecy at the end of the month not included in Ecy’s count of calls. PTPC only occasionally follows up in the short term and is dimissive of people who call.
FAQ – TIPS
♦ Quick Tip 1: Pace yourself! We’re in for the long haul, so pace yourself accordingly. Making your reports as automatic as possible builds the official record and protects your energy for jaunts to our other officials and/or delving into deeper issues.
♦ Quick Tip 2: put Angie or Shingo’s number on your speed dial. Note: it doesn’t matter which you contact and doesn’t add anything to call both of them. They are in the same office and work together.
♦ Quick Tip 3: if you report by email, copy the quick form above. Then you can just copy your “latest” report and change the date and relevant information. Numbering the reports is completely optional, to help you track your activity.
♦ Call DOE or the mill?
We recommend calling DOE. Calls to either trigger follow up. Reporting to Ecology officially logs the complaint so that it is included in official counts and they track more information than PTPC does (complaints made to the mill trigger action, but they are filed somewhere else and Ecology “forgets” to include them in their official total unless the person making the request knows to ask for those, too.)
You may want to contact the mill directly if, for instance, it’s even worse than the usual unbearable stench and DOE will be out of the the office for several days. If it’s easy, do both but either way, report!
♦ Will they call me back?
Yes, if you request it they are required to call you within 24 hours.
♦ How quickly do I need to call? Is it worth submitting older reports?
Ecology more actively investigates complaints made within 48 hours of the stench, but ALL COMPLAINTS ADD TO THE PAPER TRAIL FOR FURTHER ACTION.
♦ Who else can I contact?
Most important is to contact DOE, as they oversee the mill’s air and water pollution.
As your energy allows, here are ideas for additional places to carry the issue:
- Mapping at MillOdorous, a community Facebook page. Community map shows extent of the mill plume. The page administrator periodically sends it to officials such as City, County and Health Dept. so they cannot deny awareness of the ongoing problem. (Note: Reports to DOE must be made by the individual who is affected.)
- City of Port Townsend, County Commissioners, County Health Dept: Responsible for the well-being of residents and visitors.
- Port Townsend Visitors Bureau, Economic Development Council, travel and visitor websites: They need to know that the pollution affects tourism, business and quality of life.
- Realtors and realtor association: It is criminal that realtors don’t disclose the mill and the extent of its impact on life here. People don’t realize how widespread and ongoing the stench is until they’ve lived here a while, and then it’s a nasty shock. Realtors downplay it. They need to be held accountable.
- State and Federal representatives: Source of massive subsidies/entitlements for the mill.
♦ Doesn’t ORCAA (Olympic Region Clean Air Agency) handle complaints?
No, ORCAA has no oversight of the mill. They’ll refer you to DOE. Here’s why: PTPC is one of three types of businesses (pulp mills, aluminum smelters and concrete manufacturers) not under ORCAA’s jurisdiction. Instead, those three including PTPC were put under Washington Department of Ecology’s Industrial Section. The arrangement resulted from negotiations when Clean Air Act authority was delegated to the state in the 1970’s. PTPC is, however, included in some of ORCAA’s reports and studies.