Luhr Jensen fined for excess metal discharges

The City of Hood River has levied a second fine against Luhr Jensen and Sons in as many months for dumping heavy metals into the wastewater treatment system.

On Tuesday, the waterfront company was fined $2,000 for discharging silver into the system and then failing to report the incident in a timely manner. That fine follows an $8,000 penalty in February after sampling reports showed that more than 100 times the allowable limit of chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc were released from the plant on Dec. 26, 2001. The latest discharge inundated the system with more than 38 times the acceptable level of silver, according to Mark Lago, director of public works/engineering.

“This is something the city takes very seriously and steps need to be taken here to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future,” Lago said.

Phil Jensen, owner of the fishing lure manufacturing plant, said he is “terribly embarrassed” by the latest problems and intends to take immediate steps to correct the situation. Jensen said he was unaware of any violations until this week and is working with his engineers to install a proper filtration system as soon as possible.

“I’ve made this an absolute top priority, we just can’t be doing these things, it’s a moral issue,” said Jensen. “If there is any company that wants to be right with the environment and resources it’s Luhr Jensen.”

According to city records, since Luhr Jensen was issued an Industrial Waste Discharge Permit in 1997 the company has incurred three other violations for either releasing too much silver or failing to submit sampling reports on time.

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