FACT SHEET

STATE AGENCY / LUFKIN PAPER MILL PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO LIMITS on WASTE WATER DISCHARGED INTO SAM RAYBURN HEADWATERS

The TNRCC Monthly Effluent reports lists Lufkin paper mill discharges of product waste water to the head waters of Sam Rayburn reservoir. The listed discharges have ranged between 28 and 31 million gallons per day for years.

The mill has applied for an amendment to the permit that limits their discharges and TNRCC has issued a draft permit in response. TNRCC is accepting public comments on the amended permit.

TNRCC has issued a Notice of Preliminary Decision and Notice of Public Meeting – Sept. 23, 7:00 PM, Lufkin Civic Center.

The TNRCC announcement states the mill has applied for a permit amendment to remove monitoring and reporting requirements for Zinc discharges, remove limitations on extremely carcinogenic Dioxin discharges, remove testing requirements to determine Dioxin content in sludge, remove requirements for assessing Dioxin content in fish tissue in Rayburn headwaters.

The amendment proposes to increase the allowable limit on biochemical oxygen demand of their effluent.

The mill has also requested a third "temporary variance extension" to the standards which limit dissolved aluminum concentrations in the water. Note that TNRCC has determined that dissolved aluminum concentrations in Sam Rayburn exceed the limits that cause death of aquatic life and have contracted for a study intended to remedy existing impairments to Sam Rayburn designated uses which include excessive dissolved aluminum, inadequate dissolved oxygen, and excessive pH excursions.

The permit proposes to authorize an additional three year period in which TNRCC will consider revision of the standards. Assuming that the long standing existing standards are correct the proposed extension will allow continued discharges harmful to aquatic life.

The proposed permit will continue to allow the discharge of mill effluent into a creek that flows through both private and National Forest property. Tests indicate Chronic Toxicity effects exist at the creeks confluence with Sam Rayburn headwaters meaning that the water condition either alters reproduction and or growth rates of aquatic life or causes death. TNRCC has claimed justification for this on the basis that Paper Mill Creek is an intermittent stream (not supportive of aquatic life) even though U.S.G.S. and U.S. Forest Service appraisals indicate the stream is perennial over much of its route. .

You may submit comments either by writing to TNRCC or by presenting them orally at the public meeting. The 30 day period in which TNRCC will accept comments on the proposed permit began on August 16, 2002. You must submit written comments to TNRCC by September 15, 2002 in order for your comments to be considered. Alternatively, you can also submit written comments at the public meeting. Public meetings are short and offer limited opportunity to be heard and considered. You may request an extension to the comment period. It is unlikely that comments alone will result in changes to the proposed permit that would be beneficial to the environment, or improve protection of human health, or protect the recreational and economic value of Sam Rayburn.

The 30 day period and the Public meeting provide the only opportunity to establish a basis for a contested case hearing by "raising relevant and material issues". "A contested case will only be granted based on disputed issues of fact that are relevant to the Commissions decision on the application." A List of Potential Issues that TNRCC must consider before making a decision pertaining to a contested case hearing accompanies this fact sheet. You may withdraw a request for a contested case hearing at any time but you MUST build a basis for contest during the official comment periods. Again, TNRCC will only accept comments prior to September 15, 2002 or during the September 23rd meeting in the Lufkin Civic Center.

You are encouraged to submit written comments by mail to:

Office of the Chief Clerk
TNRCC, MC-105
P.O. Box 13087
Austin TX 78711 – 3087

The TNRCC Office of Public Assistance can be reached at the toll free number 1-800-687-4040.


POTENTIAL ISSUES FOR COMMENTS AND FORMAL HEARINGS

DISCHARGE OF WASTE WATERS OR POLLUTANTS TO STATE WATERS

Key Provisions of Statutes or Rules Issues That TNRCC Has to or May Consider.

Use if True or Likely to be True

New Exist-ing
TWC ' 26.0282 No need for the proposed action or adequate alternatives exist. X X
TWC ' 26.0281 Applicant=s history of poor compliance at this or other facilities requires:

1) denial of the application,

2) close scrutiny of the information in the application, or

3) additional conditions and terms in the proposed permit to minimize the likelihood of future violations.

X X
TWC '' 26.027, 26.028, 26.034, 26.037, 26.121 The application is inadequate: It is incomplete, inaccurate, and/or fails to include all necessary and required information, for example:

1) it does not include a complete list of names and addresses of persons affected by the proposed application;

2) it is not consistent or compatible with the applicable water quality management plan;

3) it does not contain adequate facility designs and specifications.

 

 

 

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TWC ' 26.028 There was not proper notice of application because: (if true)

1) notice was not mailed to all persons on the agency=s mailing list;

2) the newspaper notice was not proper or timely;

3) there was no notice in Spanish;

4) the notice contained inaccurate information;

5) notice did not comply with the requirements of the rules.

X X
Texas Water Code (TWC) '' 26.027, 26.0285, 26.030, 26.041, 26.121 The proposed permit must be denied because: (if true)

1) the discharge is into impaired waters;

2) it proposes to authorize the discharge of prohibited substances;

3) it does not require use of the best available technology;

4) it would allow violation of water quality standards;

5) it would allow degradation of the receiving waters;

6) it fails to consider the combined effects on water quality of permitted discharges within the same watershed and/or region;

7) it will cause health hazards, nuisances and other adverse effects to the public and environment, including the receiving water and/or nearby recreational areas;

1) it fails to have the same expiration date as other discharge permits in the watershed and/or region;

 

 

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TWC '' 26.0285, 26.029, 26.042 The proposed permit is inadequate as it fails to provide clear and enforceable terms, for example:

1) it fails to specify the character, quality, quantity, and point of the discharge; and

2) it fails to include adequate monitoring and reporting requirements. Such requirements include the correct type monitoring at a sufficient frequency, and whole toxicity monitoring which is used to detect violations or evaluate the toxicity as the conditions of discharge and conditions in the receiving waters change from time to time.

 

 

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