Archive for category Pulp & Paper Industry

Dioxin and Willamette River Pollution: A First Step Into the Toxic Waters

[Originally published on my blog Historical Threads on May 18, 2011. This version has been refined & corrected, where necessary.]

This post provides some preliminary research and analysis on dioxin pollution in the Willamette Watershed connected to pulp and paper mill effluents.

I was recently at an environmental history conference and found myself in a discussion with someone doing research on dioxin pollution from pulp and paper mill effluents. As we were sharing stories, I realized that I had not seen a single reference to the word “dioxin” in any of the government reports, newspaper articles, professional journals, letters, or other primary sources from the 1900s into the 1960s that I have consulted thus far. Over the past few weeks, I’ve searched various primary and secondary sources, with the goal of determining just when dioxins became a known toxin, and when they were linked empirically with pulp and paper mill effluents, to determine if I had inadvertently missed something very important (and would have to re-write my thesis), or if this type of pollution hadn’t been discovered until after the 1960s (and I was OK).

Here is what I have found thus far . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Sixty years later, a prediction comes true . . . sort of.

[Originally published on my blog Historical Threads on Sep. 27, 2011. This version has been refined & corrected, where necessary.]

Willamette Falls, looking north. Blue Heron paper mill on right, in Oregon City, which operated as the Hawley Pulp and Paper Mill, 1908-1948, operated under the Publishers’ Paper Company from 1948-1986, and under the Jefferson Smurfit Corporation 1986-2000. On the left is the West Linn Paper Company mill, which opened as Willamette Pulp & Paper in 1889, and after mergers was operated by the Crown Willamette Paper Company (1914-1928),  Crown Zellerbach Paper Company (1928-1986), and the James River Corporation (1986-1997). Oregonian photo.

This is fascinating: Metro is considering bidding for the recently-closed Blue Heron paper mill site in Oregon City at the base of Willamette Falls.[1] It would be great to have public access to this part of the river.

On another note, it appears that mill officials might have been correct when they predicted in 1949 that more stringent Willamette River water quality standards would run them out of business. However, does it count that the prediction was sixty years in coming to fruition, or that more stringent water quality standards do not entirely explain the demise of the mill?

Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment