HOW THINGS ARE DONE IN MASON COUNTY
Monday, 29 October 2012 09:24
In an August issue of the Mason County Journal’s PUBLIC NOTICE section, I saw the announcement that the City of Shelton was planning to dredge the Shelton Creek. Because of the build of sediment, there was a distinct possibility offlooding in some neighborhoods. It spiked my curiosity, so I looked up the SEPA report. There already had been a DNS issued. Determination of Non Significance notices seem to be given out like Halloween Candy in the county and city. One thing I noticed when reading the SEPA, was item #12, This stated that the sediment would be dredged and hauled off to an upland site so as not to enter State Waters. No information as to where this “upland site” is located. So being a ‘nosy nelly’, I requested information from the Public Works Department, including what testing of the sediment would be as it was stated that this should not enter State waters. Approximately 700 to 900 cubic yards of sediment were to be removed. One of the reasons I was concerned about sediment, was the fact that some of the water coming down to Shelton Creek is from Goose Lake a very highly contaminated body of water. This was the responsive I received form Jerry Haut, Project Manager. “For this project it will be the contractor’s responsibility to properly dispose of any dredging materials. There are a number of local sites that have been permitted to accept contaminated materials and our contractor will be responsible to select who they want to team with for this project. There is no testing proposed if the material is contaminated and it is subsequently disposed of at an approved disposal site, we will ultimately have less contaminated material in the stream and bay.” This response completely baffled me. No information where these sites are located, contractors are responsible for picking the correct place to put them and no testing is done and if sediment is contaminated it will be put in an OK place. A meeting was set up with Steve Goins. Terri Thompson, Doug Sayan and myself attended. We had no additional information after the meeting that we didn’t have before it. It was basickly the same thing I was told before.
ROUND II: FOIA Requst July 26, 2012
I then sent a FOIA to Mason County Health Department requesting all information about hazardous and non-hazardous dumping sites and whether any were over critical areas such as wetlands CARAs (Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas) or near bodies of water, etc.
August 6, 2012; I received a letter not signed from Mason County Public Health telling me, “Mason County does not currently have a landfill that disposes of hazardous or non hazardous material. There are several intermediate solid waste collection sites that collect solid waste for transfer to other locations for final disposal.” No information about where these “other sites are located.” Two places were given, Belfair Drop Box and Transfer Station. There are 14 recycling operations and 2 composting facilities. I received the permits for the solid wastes and compost sites but only 2 recycling operations. The ones I received were not completely filled out or the information given seemed questionable. No information about critical areas. I wrote a letter on Aug. 14, 2012 again asking for that information. I also requested information if there are any sites other than Webb Hill that accepts sludge as a land application.
August 14. 2012; I received a response, again not signed, stating, “ You requested information that is not maintained in this office. I will attempt to direct you to the best location to secure your requested information. The City of Shelton and the Mason County Planning Department both have a rosters of Critical Aquifer recharge Areas. These two rosters are different. You can determine the proximity of the business to the recharge areas in question using the address provided I was also referred me to DNR and DOE about land application. Back to square 1.
August 17, 2012. I sent another letter , To Whom it may Concern at MCHD. I told them I do not work for the County or the Health Department. There are no ‘rosters or lists’. There are two maps, the city’s and the other the county’s , both have the same information source Gordon Adams, who did the originals for free. It is not exactly clear about his qualifications. Anyhow, the maps are completely different. Where the City of Shelton shows as Class I area the County shows Class II, and vice versa. There has never been study done to correct differences.
August 30, 2012: My final correspondence from MCHD signed by Debbie Riley.
The comment states; “The purpose of a records request is to make existing records available to the requestor, not to research or analyze data. Your questions go far beyond providing existing records and I will address them to the best of my ability.” CARA” is not an acronym Public Health uses. Cannot tell where or if any of listed facilities listed are over or near critical areas. The Mason County Public Health does not issue permits to exempt facilities. Note; The copies of many of the listed facilities have a heading of “Mason County Public Health Permit.” I stand corrected in thinking that Mason County Public Health would have Public Health related information. The only information I have heard given at commissioner’s Meetings by Vicky Kirkpatrick are earth shattering statements such as; “Get a flu shot. Smoking, drinking alcohol , and not exercising are bad for your health,” and a report by JOHNSON AND JOHNSON saying the same things. Bye the bye, one of our illustrious Commissioners received a nice campaign donation from this company, and Kirkpatrick received a salary increase due to her good friend Erickson. Well still no information. So on to……
ROUND 3. On Sept 4, 2012 at the open comment period of the Commissioners Meeting I tried to find out again for umpteenth time where are the CARAs. I explained all the above and then read the RCW used by the Growth Management Act requiring the County to keep accurate information regarding location of the CARAs. This was totally ignored except about the dredging. Commissioner Shelton did not like the work “dredging” and thought “excavating” was a better word. Commissioner Erickson did not have a clue what I was saying, and Commissioner Bloomfield started yelling at me that I was trying to shut down the project and would be responsible for the flooding of the residential areas. When I tried to explain my question, Erickson started gaveling and telling me I was out of order and to sit down, while Bloomfield continued shouting. Erickson almost broke the gavel.
So ended my adventure with the City of Shelton, Mason County Health Department and the County Commissioners. I never found out any of the information I requested and was knocked out in all three rounds. And that is how things are done in Mason County
Patricia Vandehey, Shelton