DEQ hearing looks at fruit packing waste


News staff writer

June 10, 2006

Months of work between the state Department of Environmental Quality and Hood River Valley fruit packers reaches the point of public comment Thursday in Pine Grove.

Those involved have been working out the details to renew permits for each of the plants to continue discharging wastewater into area creeks.

“We have about five years to figure out what to do; we have to do some research on that,” said Jean Godfrey, executive director of the Hood River Grower-Shipper Association.

She referred to possible upgrades packers might need to do to meet final DEQ requirements. The agency has proposed renewing all of the permits until 2011 under certain conditions.

The hearing Thursday starts at 4:30 p.m. at the group’s business office, 2835 Van Horn Drive. The permit renewals affect only a few of the association’s 370 members. They include Diamond Fruit Growers, which has three plants: Stadelman Fruit, Duckwall-Pooley Fruit Company, and Lage Orchards.

While Terminal Ice and Cold Storage is also part of the hearing, the firm does not currently pack fruit at its location but wants to retain the right to do so.

The process began when the DEQ tested waterways in 2004, finding that “the fruit process wastewater could contain toxics that could affect fish” according to the hearing announcement.

DEQ analyzed discharges from the plants into Lenz Creek, Wishart Creek, that joins with the East Fork of the Hood River; the Van Horn tributary of Neal Creek, and Neal Creek. That research measured water temperatures to determine if the plants complied with cold water protection standards for streams that have salmon, steelhead or bull trout. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the steelhead in the Hood River drainage system is a listed species.

The DEQ will require each of the plants to have a contingency plan for spills, a designated supervisor contact, and no increases in thermal load without prior written approval; proper use of lime, and guidelines for testing effluent toxics. In addition, the agency required that Stadelman Fruit submit any plans to the DEQ before any construction activity.

DEQ has set a timeline for each of the plants to submit conceptual plans within two years after the permit has been issued.

The agency will accept written comments on the plans until June 20. Plans are available for review at the Bend DEQ office.

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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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