Chemical leftovers from Humboldt County’s once booming timber industry could create costly delays for two Arcata projects near its marsh and wildlife sanctuary.
One project seeks to construct a dog park at the old Little Lake Industries lumber mill site on South I Street. The other would reuse dredged soils from the bay to create a buffer to protect city properties from sea level rise.
However, recent tests of Humboldt Bay sediment along the marsh found a “hot spot” of harmful compounds known as dioxins, according to Humboldt Baykeeper Director Jennifer Kalt. Dioxins are found in a wood preservative once used by many of the nearly 100 mill sites near Humboldt Bay, which had either spilled or had been dumped into the bay over the decades, Kalt said.
“It was so toxic that it was restricted in the late 1980s,” Kalt said. “It’s only allowed now to be used on power poles.”