The Pacific Northwest is blessed with an abundance of precipitation. This rainfall, however, can have important consequences for industries that must process the resulting stormwater for proper discharge. This is particularly true of wood treatment facilities. Past management practices at wood preserving facilities located in the Western United States create significant hurdles with regard to stormwater treatment or groundwater recovery operations required to achieve regulatory compliance. In many instances, State regulations have more stringent discharge requirements than current Federal regulations. Stringent requirements, combined with the fact that many of these facilities have been in operation for decades, use many different preservatives,
and may be currently involved with remediation activities, can place substantial regulatory burdens on a facility.
Wood preserving facilities tend to experience similar issues and concerns with the treatment of collected stormwater and groundwater, but often do not share this information. Compiling information on how facilities address these issues could help identify potential trends and collectively develop solutions to address the challenges related to water treatment and regulatory compliance.
The goal of the study was to assemble information on stormwater and groundwater handling practices of treatment facilities in the Western United States including: facility age, preservatives used and previously used at the facility, effect on groundwater and stormwater, production information related to preservative type and volume, size of real property subject to water management requirements, volume of water managed, methods of groundwater and stormwater treatment, and regulatory permits and monitoring requirements. This survey was limited to issues related to stormwater and groundwater (as the result of remediation activities) and did not address process related wastewater.
The data suggested that, while many plants dealt with stormwater and groundwater issues, there were no consistent relationships between plant size, age, or production
capacity and how these waters were processed. There were also considerable differences in permitting limits among plants in different states, with plants in Oregon or Washington having the most stringent release requirements. However, there were still a number of inconsistencies in how plants dealt with stormwater and groundwater, although it was unclear how or why these differences had developed. The data suggest the need for more standardization of requirements.