Another DEQ fine for Luhr Jensen

Maker of fishing tackle mishandles hazardous waste, draws penalty, its fourth since 1989

January 14, 2006

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has fined LJS Enterprises, formerly known as Luhr Jensen and Sons, Inc., for mismanagement of hazardous waste.

A $33,225 penalty has been levied against LJS for violations that echo those committed in 1989, 1997 and 2001.

Phil Jensen, owner of LJS, was unavailable for comment. However, a press release from DEQ stated that the company was appealing the penalty.

In the spring of 2002, DEQ slapped a $66,354 fine on LJS for continued improper storage, labeling and containment of toxins. According to DEQ, the company generates hazardous waste during the electroplating and painting of fishing lures and related accessories.

Jensen was also accused almost four years ago of faulty recordkeeping and reporting practices. At that time, DEQ and Department of Ecology (DOE) Pollution Prevention staff from the state of Washington provided technical assistance to LJS’ operations. The agencies wanted to help the company better manage toxic substances.

Also in 2002, the City of Hood River levied a $1,000 fine against LJS for releasing a high pH effluent into the wastewater treatment plant.

That penalty followed a $10,000 penalty against the company for dumping heavy metals into the system.

“The company’s practices of allowing chrome plating wastes to accumulate beneath the plating room floor grating and in the secondary containment structures are areas of continuing noncompliance and of particular concern,” said Jeff Ingalls of DEQ’s Hazardous Waste Program in Bend.

He said improper management of hazardous waste can adversely affect air, soil and water quality, thereby increasing the risk to public health.

In June of 2005, DEQ and Environmental Protection Agency representatives documented further violations of Oregon’s hazardous waste regulations.

LJS was also cited for violating conditions of the facility’s stormwater discharge permit. The Portway facility is authorized to discharge stormwater to the Columbia River, with the permit subject to specific limitations and conditions.

Ingalls said LJS is working cooperatively with DEQ to remedy the problems found last year. However, the waterfront plant is scheduled to close its doors by next July.

Jensen has merged the business with Finland-based Rapala/VMC and the product line will be made in Shenzen, China, just north of Hong Kong.

Layoffs of the 150 employees at the company began in November but the majority of personnel will stay on the job until late spring.

The Oak Grove facility that manufactures Little and Big Chief electric smokers and wood flavor chips will continue under the LJS umbrella.

That business is now called Smokehouse Products and employs about 30 people.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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