The State of Arkansas and the Environmental Protection Agency are monitoring the cleanup of hydraulic fluid that is polluting the Malvern creek downstream from the Anthony Timberland plant.
According to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Emergency Response Incident Report filed on September 12, 2022, a “Possible Release of Raw Sewage” was reported on September 2 at Block 1700 of Grigsby Ford Road .
According to the incident report, investigators determined it was “hydraulic oil released by Anthony Timberland of Malvern” on a seven-mile stretch of Chatman Creek that flows into the Ouachita River. .
This stream runs through the land of rancher James Ross in Malvern, where his cows drink.
Ross recently sent a liver sample from one of the affected cows for analysis and discovered that the cause of death was liver failure.
“I sent one of mine and my neighbor sent three or four of them. They all came back contaminated with the elements in the water,” Ross said. “It’s basically an element of hydraulic fluid.”
This year, a rancher died after four cows got sick from drinking stream water. At least the same number of cows died last year.
“It’s going to happen so fast it’s unreal. They’re going to dry up like raisins, eat all the time, and just die. So that’s been happening for the last few years. All of us here.” have experienced it, and we weren’t thinking about it,” Ross said.
Ross said he once met with Anthony Timberland.
“I just spoke [Anthony Timberlands] I spoke at a conference once, but I haven’t spoken to them since,” Ross said.
County, state, and federal officials attended a meeting with landlords at Hot Springs County Courthouse on Dec. 9, where the Malvern Daily Record reported on a chemical found in a stream someone reported and investigated by the state on Dec. 9. Reported on May 20th.
Ross, who attended the conference, said he met ADEQ representatives and several county officials there, but did not meet Anthony’s representatives.
“I never saw anyone from Anthony. The county judge was in the front, but the mayor was sitting in the back of the building,” Ross said.
“ADEQ is basically the one that gives you all the information.”
Anthony Timberlands, Inc. President Steven Anthony said the chemical release at Malvern was not a significant release and is not ongoing.
“This was not a large chemical spill, such as a burst pipeline or a broken tank, but a periodic release of small amounts of material released over a period of time,” Anthony said. said he only learned of the presence of chemicals in the creek when he was contacted by the state.
Hydraulic fluid is contained in tanks at the facility, which are surrounded by water catchment devices to prevent bursts or leaks, Anthony said. He said that there can be no drainage without rain, and that drainage occurs only when there is heavy rain.
In a December 22 statement, Mr Anthony said the company had never been the subject of an environmental complaint in its 50 years of operation.
Several landowners filed complaints last year, and the Environmental Protection Agency was brought in to inspect the site on Oct. 15 with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and Environmental Quality Officers, according to the incident report.
In a December 22 email response, ADEQ’s Water Quality Department officials said that due to operational and design failures in the plant’s stormwater system, water conditions downstream of the creek and situational information gathered by investigators had been disrupted for some time. It said it suggested that “unauthorized drainage” had occurred during the
“Apparently [Anthony Timberlands] disobeyed the water permit and used hydraulic oil-contaminated wastewater to continuously spray wood products as a dust suppressant,” the ADEQ incident report said.
Stormwater systems protect surface water from pollution runoff from a facility when it rains. ADEQ officials said the Malvern plant has an oil-water separator to prevent oil-based spills from leaving the premises.
The pump system that drains the oil-water separator into the storm pond apparently failed, overloading the separator and draining oily water from the facility.
An ADEQ official said in an email, “A second design or operational failure was pumping oily water into a storm pond and using it to blow up a pile of wood debris. Seem.
This appears to have caused “at least partially” oily water to flow downhill through nearby woods and into a concrete ditch outside the facility, ADEQ officials said.
Marion Gibson, a Malvern resident who once lived in the neighborhood on the west side of town, said he was concerned that the chemical release could pose a public health risk to residents.
“I used to live on Kelly Street when I was a kid. It’s an old black neighborhood that’s still old and still black…Anthony Timberland is in these people’s backyards,” Gibson said. .
The factory is located about 800 meters (0.5 miles) from Kelly Street.
“What they’re saying is there was a leak in the little culvert they made out of concrete,” Gibson said.
“It’s a flood control because it floods so often. I remember looking at my backyard when I was a kid and it looked like a lake.”
Gibson posted a video of the Kelly Street neighborhood to YouTube on December 15, showing the white plumbing of the culvert.
Ms. Gibson said the current owner of the former family home told her that Anthony Timberland had not notified her of the chemical release.
The chemical constituents of mineral hydraulic fluids can enter the body through ingestion or contact with the skin. Health effects have been observed in animals that have breathed, swallowed or come in contact with organophosphate hydraulic fluids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if spilled on soil, some hydraulic fluid components can stay on top or sink into groundwater.
The chemical release was first reported a week before Labor Day weekend last year, but was not investigated at the time.
At a follow-up visit by emergency management officials two weeks after the EPA toured the site on Oct. 15, representatives from TAS Environmental Services, the company hired by the state to clean up the stream, , told authorities it plans to continue two removals. According to incident reports, roll-off or open-top trash cans were filled with chemicals daily and there was no determination as to when work would be finished.
According to the report, emergency management officials noted 15 roll-offs at the site during the visit and said “cleanup is progressing compared to the last visit conducted by the EM.” rice field.
ADEQ was informed that the lumber company had purchased 134,000 gallons of hydraulic fluid for the Malvern facility in 2021 as part of an investigation, but the agency would not comment on the amount of hydraulic fluid that will be discharged this year. “Purely speculative.”
Anthony Timberlands is working on a remediation plan put in place by the EPA and providing daily updates to both agencies, according to ADEQ officials.
Downstream efforts include sorbent booms and pads, vacuum truck operations and other efforts to collect submerged petroleum products, ADEQ officials said.
ADEQ received two draft restoration and maintenance plans from Anthony Timberlands and comments on the latest draft were sent to the lumber companies on December 21st.
The EPA will conduct a final walkthrough of the affected areas after the two plans are approved, and Anthony Timberlands will begin implementing the plans under ADEQ’s oversight, officials said.
ADEQ has not definitively confirmed whether the runoff at Malvern Creek poses a public health threat, but Ouachita River data will monitor data upstream and downstream of the creek confluence through 2022. It states that it shows that “there is no discernible difference” when
Anthony said on Dec. 23 that the company has been in contact with affected parties but has not received any claims for damages. He later said some landlords shared their concerns.
“We have promised to cover the losses caused by our activities,” said Anthony. Nothing in our activities causes heavy metal emissions.”
Pastor Jim Lee of Greater New Hope Baptist Church at 1202 W. Sullenberger Avenue in Malvern said Anthony Timberlands was invited to a public service at the church today at 6 p.m. The church is two blocks south of Kelly Street.
Anthony said in an email Wednesday that the timber company will make an announcement today “regarding this issue” that will provide information that “explains the issue more fully.”
“This is a somewhat complicated issue, made even more difficult by the fact that the plant site has no room for expansion of the stormwater management facility,” said Anthony.
The factory at 930 Cave Avenue was purchased in 1974 and produces pine timber.