Roseburg Forest Products was fined $38,400 by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for violating air quality standards at its plant in Dillard back in March.

RFP’s violation was for operating a wood-waste boiler without its pollution control device, which resulted in a continuous release of pollution into the air for about nine hours overnight from March 12 to 13, a DEQ spokesperson said.

The DEQ sent the notification of the penalty to RFP in October. The notification said, in part:

“Wood-waste boilers emit particulate matter that can contribute to respiratory distress in humans. Once inhaled, particulate matter can affect the heart and lungs, causing serious health problems such as decreased lung function, irregular heartbeat and chronic bronchitis.

DEQ appreciates your efforts to ensure the violations won’t be repeated by installing additional automated email and text notifications to alert management and environmental personnel if the ESP is not operating, a warning strobe light to flash if opacity begins to rise above 10%, and new interlock programming on the boiler operating control system that automatically stops feeding wood-waste to the boiler if the required number of ESP fields are not operating. DEQ considered these efforts when determining the amount of civil penalty.”

RFP spokeswoman Rebecca Taylor said the company took steps to correct the issue, including installing a system of automated emails and text messages to alert management should the device go offline again. Additionally, improvements were made to the boiler control system to correct the issue, she said.

“Roseburg has a robust environmental compliance program that meets or exceeds regulatory requirements,” Taylor said. “The company acts quickly to fix any issues that arise, as we take our commitment to our communities very seriously.”

The RFP fine was the highest handed out by the Oregon DEQ in October. The agency issued a total of 16 penalties totaling $231,915 last month, for various environmental violations.

Fines ranged from $1,500 to the $38,400 given to RFP. Alleged violations included failing to hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to safely remove asbestos during construction, illegal open burning, discharging untreated wastewater to Oregon rivers, and providing underground storage tank and heating oil tank services without a license.

A detailed list of violations and resulting penalties is at https://go.usa.gov/xEQJn.

Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project that improves Oregon’s environment.

Penalties may also include orders requiring specific tasks to prevent ongoing violations or additional environmental harm.

This has been a difficult week for RFP. On Friday, the company announced it was laying off 30 workers from its Dillard plant, citing “unfavorable conditions in the North American plywood market” as the reason for the move.

RFP had already laid off 90 workers from that plant in August, citing the same “unfavorable conditions” for the layoffs.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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