Neighbors still raise a stink over Eugene creosote plant.Byline: Diane Dietz The Register-Guard
Based on the number of neighbor complaints, J.H. Baxter's efforts to curb its creosote creosote (krē`əsōt), volatile, heavy, oily liquid obtained by the distillation of coal tar or wood tar. Creosote derived from beechwood tar has been used medicinally as an antiseptic and in the treatment of chronic bronchitis. fume fume Occupational medicine A solid suspension resulting from condensation of the products of combustion. See Inhalant Vox populi verbTo be in the midst of a mental mini-meltdown. emissions appear - thus far- not so successful.
By late December, the west Eugene factory had completed most of the remedies specified in a draft agreement with the Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority.
But complaints from neighbors citing the creosote smell have continue apace, with 44 lodged in January.
"One a week or one a month - well, that we could probably all live with - but one a day is still a problem," said Brian Jennison, director of the air pollution enforcement agency.
In the next month, the authority will take comment on its agreement with J.H. Baxter, and then decide whether to finalize the document in early March. The document to a large degree simply sets down in writing the improvements that Baxter has already made. Once all the
improvements are complete, LRAPA LRAPA Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (formerly Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority) said it will monitor the situation in the spring and see if complaints decrease.
Some neighbors of the 60-year-old Roosevelt Boulevard The following roads are called Roosevelt Boulevard:
Neighbors say the odor is intermittently intense despite all the fixes so far, and they predict the smell will worsen as the weather improves and they start opening their windows. In warm, dry months, a maximum amount of the chemical evaporates from treated wood treated wood Toxicology Wood impregnated with preservatives–eg, chromium-copper-arsenate, creosote, inorganic arsenicals, pentachlorophenol, to ↑ its useful life, thwarting insects, fungi, etc; chronic exposure to the fumes of burning wood or skin into the air.
"The claims that the smells will be fixed soon haven't come to pass, so there is a lot of skepticism on the part of people who live nearby," said neighbor Becky Riley, a board member of the River Road Community Organization.
State toxicologists, meanwhile, are trying to determine if the fumes fumes
odorous gases and other volatile materials; inhalation of irritating fumes causes coughing and, if sufficiently severe, irreversible pulmonary edema. are a health risk.
A state report due out in March will explain what data will be necessary to complete an evaluation, and examine what doses and durations of exposure are harmful.
Creosote is an old chemical and scientists know a lot about it, said Dave Stone Dave Stone is a British writer. He has written many spin off novels based on the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who and Judge Dredd. Comics
Stone also contributed a number of comic series to 2000AD and the , public health toxicologist toxicologist (tok´sikol´jist),
n a person versed in toxicology.
a specialist in toxicology. with the state Office of Health Services health services Managed care The benefits covered under a health contract .
"It's found on your barbecue," he said. "It's the black gunk that forms on charred meat. It's a carcinogen carcinogen: see cancer.
Agent that can cause cancer. Exposure to one or more carcinogens, including certain chemicals, radiation, and certain viruses, can initiate cancer under conditions not completely understood. for sure. A lot of health officials will say if you blacken black·en
v. black·ened, black·en·ing, black·ens
1. To make black.
2. To sully or defame: a scandal that blackened the mayor's name.
3. your meat, that's one of the biggest things you can do to increase your risk of cancer. That's direct ingestion ingestion /in·ges·tion/ (-chun) the taking of food, drugs, etc., into the body by mouth.
1. The act of taking food and drink into the body by the mouth.
"Can it be toxic? Sure. It can. Is it toxic at (the level) these neighbors are experiencing? Probably not, but I don't have the data yet to make that call."
LRAPA is mulling mulling (mul´ing),
n the final step of mixing dental amalgam; a kneading of the triturated mass to complete the amalgamation. whether to get that data by hiring a firm to take air samples at the hours the neighbors are most apt to complain, Jennison said.
Baxter officials doubt state health officials will decide there's a problem.
"We certainly don't think there's a health issue here," said Gary Hunt, manager of the Eugene plant.
"It is a nuisance odor issue, and we've made great strides in improving it."
In recent months, the plant has spent about $400,000 installing vacuum pumps, condensers and valves to cut the amount of creosote fumes released into the air. Two chambers in which wood is treated with creosote will get a new piping system by month's end, Hunt said.
The plant has slowed its production cycle by 1 1/2 hours to allow the new pumps to do their work and to allow treated poles to further cool - to 130 degrees, down from the previous 190 degrees - before they're moved from the sealed chambers to the outside air. The company estimates the slowdown adds $50,000 to the annual cost of production.
The company is trying to be responsive to neighbors by quickly implementing steps set out in the draft agreement with LRAPA, Hunt said.
"We've gone right after it to get it done," he said.
Some fear that the technology of stopping fumes from getting into the air may prove too challenging for Baxter.
"The handwriting is on the wall that this is an industry that has to change," Riley said.
Baxter treats raw lumber with creosote and other wood preserving chemicals so they can be used as utility poles, highway railing posts and marine lumber.
Riley said steel, laminates and recycled plastics can be used for those purposes. "Is it time for their industry to make some changes and move on?" she asked.
Hunt, the plant manager, isn't wild about that idea.
"There are 50 employees who owe their livelihood to this plant, and with today's economy, we don't want to lose any more jobs," he said.
The dispute may land in court eventually. Baxter is hiring an engineering firm to suggest further fixes and "to confirm that we have lessened the impact to the neighborhood," Hunt said.
But Jennison said that if in coming months his agency concludes the fumes remain a substantial problem, LRAPA could formally declare Baxter a nuisance and fine it up to $10,000 per violation.
Company officials can hire engineers to defend their point of view, Jennison said, "but that doesn't stop me from trying to enforce my regulation. As some point, this could become a legal, adversarial ad·ver·sar·i·al
Relating to or characteristic of an adversary; involving antagonistic elements: "the chasm between management and labor in this country, an often needlessly adversarial . . . situation."
Now's the time to weigh in on an abatement agreement aimed at reducing creosote fumes from the J.H. Baxter plant in west Eugene. Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority officials are obligated ob·li·gate
tr.v. ob·li·gat·ed, ob·li·gat·ing, ob·li·gates
1. To bind, compel, or constrain by a social, legal, or moral tie. See Synonyms at force.
2. To cause to be grateful or indebted; oblige. to listen to the 60 neighbors who lodged 432 complaints about the smell in the past two years, but they say they're open to hearing from others, too.
Review: Draft agreement is online at www.lrapa.org
Call LRAPA: 736-1056, Ext. 218
Write: LRAPA, 1010 Main St., Springfield, OR 97477
Attend: LRAPA will brief Trainsong neighborhood residents on the abatement agreement in a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the Red Cross building, 862 Bethel Bethel, in the Bible
Bethel (bĕth`əl) [Heb.,=house of God].
1 Ancient city of central Palestine, the modern Baytin, the West Bank, N of Jerusalem. Drive
Leonard Stafford, a treating engineer at the J.H. Baxter wood treatment plant, opens a metal cylinder into which lumber will be loaded by rail carriage and where it will be bathed in creosote or other chemicals. "The handwriting is on the wall that this is an industry that has to change.' BECKY RILEY NEIGHBOR TO BAXTER PLANT