The Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations are in the final phase of transporting hazardous materials out of the Samoa Pulp Mill.
EPA representatives say Evergreen Pulp Company left millions of gallons of hazardous waste and other materials at the Samoa Pulp Mill when the organization left the site in 2008. The EPA is investigating the company for potential liability.
"Evergreen is a Chinese-owned company and it's foreign based and there's really no entities left in the United States so that would involve working with the State Department so I believe that discussion is going on as well," said Steve Calanog, the Federal On-Scene Coordinator with the EPA’s Emergency Response Group for Region 9.
In 2013, the EPA began emergency efforts to remove the hazardous waste from the site.
"The facility posed a significant risk, an imminent and substantial risk to Humboldt Bay,” Calanog said.
"This area is prone to earthquakes and over the course of our work, there's been several large earthquakes here and it's always been our concern that something like an earthquake can exacerbate the situation and cause a catastrophic release and that's why we're taking this action."
So far, 3,000 tons of sludge has been shipped to a disposal facility in Vacaville. Three thousand tons of the sludge still needs to be shipped.
In addition, 100,000 gallons of pulping liquor still need to be disposed of. The hazardous liquid will remain in on-site storage tanks until the EPA finds a facility to award a contract to for disposal. In addition, the EPA will decontaminate the remaining infrastructure before disposing of it.
However, not all of the debris and structures will be removed. The seven tile tanks used to store pulping liquors and the smokestack will remain at the mill after the hazardous materials are gone.
The Humboldt Bay Harbor District is currently seeking federal funding to remove the smokestack and seven tile tanks.