Camas Mill Information

Upcoming Meeting about PFAS & GP Mill Cleanup!
The City of Camas, in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Ecology, Clark County Public Health and the Washington State Department of Health will hold an Open House, July 9, 2024, at Lacamas Lake Lodge, from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Representatives from each of the agencies listed will be available to answer questions and hear concerns regarding PFAS. Participants can ask the City of Camas about proposed actions and response to PFAS in Well 13 and the Camas water system, the Department of Ecology about the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) cleanup process at the Georgia Pacific Camas Mill, and the Department of Health and Clark County Public Health about EPAs new drinking water rule related to PFAS and about overall health related concerns.

A brief introduction will be provided by the City of Camas to kick off the meeting followed by an open house format where community members can have one-on-one conversations with agency representatives.

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See News & Events in right sidebar (or below underneath Contacts if you’re on a mobile device) for Upcoming Community Advisory Group Meetings

Click here for a FAQ sheet about the Camas GP Mill Cleanup process.

Info Rack Card in English, Spanish and Russian.

We welcome your feedback on the GP cleanup process. Send your comments and questions to:camaswamillinfo@downtowncamas.com


Cleaning up the Camas paper mill

More than a century of industrial activity at the Georgia Pacific (GP) pulp and paper mill in Camas has led to potential contamination in soil, sediments, and groundwater in and around the mill. Contamination could have occurred due to regular operations, spills, or leaks.

In August 2021, the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) and GP issued an Agreed Order to investigate potential contamination and evaluate how to clean it up. GP will conduct the cleanup activities in accordance with the Ecology’s Toxic Cleanup Program’s statutes and regulations. GP has not communicated any plans to stop operations at the mill; it continues to be an active paper mill employing people in Camas.

Investigation and cleanup is a long, complex undertaking. As specified through a public participation grant from Ecology, the Downtown Camas Association (DCA) has taken on the role of engaging and advising members of the community over the next few years. DCA will interpret technical information and share it with the community to help provide information, involve the community, and solicit feedback during the investigation and cleanup process that will be led by GP and overseen by Ecology.


About the site
The mill has been an integral part of the region’s history, community, and economic development since its beginnings in 1883, when investors purchased 2,600 acres to create the Columbia River Paper Company. The mill is currently owned and operated by GP, which acquired the property in 2000. Though the mill that has shut down most of its operations, it continues to:

  • Make and convert paper from purchased wood pulp
  • Treat its wastewater and discharge it to the Columbia River

Residents and businesses in Camas and Clark County have benefited from over a century of partnership and economic activity at the mill. As this property continues to be a key feature of the region and for Camas in particular it is critical that the community thoughtfully consider the future of the mill site. How contamination on the property is cleaned up affects how it may be redeveloped in the future. It’s important that the community is involved in the cleanup planning and implementation, so the outcome can continue to support the community and region.


Public participation
DCA’s goal is to provide the public with regular opportunities to learn about investigation and cleanup and have input on this process to better inform Ecology of the community’s desired outcome. DCA will engage community members through a variety of communication tools and events to help inform the people about the process and findings. The DCA also hopes to ensure broad feedback to Ecology throughout the investigation and cleanup process.

As a first step in the public participation process, the DCA convened a Community Advisory Group (CAG) to get the community involved early in the proposed remedial investigation plan that GP will implement over the coming years.

The first two years were managed through a Public Participation Grant from Ecology. The funds allow a community group to engage experts to interpret the detailed technical documents from both GP submittals and Ecology responses and to manage the CAG process of meetings, minutes, etc. Through an RFP process (Request for Proposal), an environmental consultant with local offices, Maul, Foster and Alongi, filled that role. Despite not receiving a second 2-year grant from Ecology, the Community Advisory Group agreed to continue in a reduced manner within the capacity of this now fully volunteer effort. DCA has continued to facilitate these efforts with staff and board member support. Future grant opportunities may be pursued in the next grant cycle.

Project timeline
Dates are approximate and subject to change based on Ecology’s cleanup process, which is guided by the Washington State Model Toxics Control Act. Learn more about the steps in this process here.

December 2021: Establish Community Advisory Group (CAG)

January 2022: Develop and begin implementing public involvement plan

January 2022: Ecology provides draft Remedial Investigation (RI) Work Plan for public review and comment

Spring 2022: Submit CAG comments and public comments to Ecology

Late 2023 or 2024: Remedial Investigation (RI) Work Plan finalized by Ecology

2024: Ecology and GP perform remedial investigation and cleanup feasibility study

2025 or later (depending on RI findings): Ecology and GP develop Cleanup Action Plan

2026 or later (depending on RI findings): Site cleanup begins


How to Stay Informed

DCA’s public involvement will parallel the Ecology process and will actively and directly engage the local community. There are many ways to learn more and participate in this process. Your input is encouraged and appreciated!

Community Advisory Group (CAG)

  • The CAG will supervise the DCA’s public involvement consultant’s work, provide broad community outreach, and encourage opportunities for public involvement in the cleanup process. The CAG will also review technical materials and respond to Ecology and GP regarding the cleanup process, findings, and plans.
  • Interested community members applied and an advisory group was formed and members announced December 16th (see press release link in right sidebar). Advisory group participants were selected based on a standardized selection process that was open to the public and prioritized representation of varied lived experiences and subject matter expertise.
  • The CAG will meet every other month starting in January 2021 and then every three months starting in July 2023. CAG meetings are open to the public and will be announced on this web page (see right sidebar).
  • Through the CAG’s work, the community will have opportunities to see and understand plans for cleanup and provide input on them through public meetings and communications.

Events and meetings
Ecology plans to offer public meetings and DCA will host opportunities within the Camas community for those who would like to learn more about the cleanup and provide feedback about the process. Stay tuned to this web page and sign up for email updates for dates, times and locations when events are planned.

Email updates
DCA will send email updates to share project news and announce event information in advance of key milestones. Sign up for emails here.

Ecology will distribute periodic email updates with project information and schedule updates. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for this site, please contact Tara Roberts at 360-280-4325 or tara.roberts@ecy.wa.gov.

Project Resources

Contacts

  • Downtown Camas Association
    Caroline Mercury, DCA Past President, Georgia Pacific (retired)
    camaswamillinfo@downtowncamas.com
    360-904-0218
  • Washington State Department of Ecology – Public participation
    Tara Roberts, Public Involvement Coordinator
    tara.roberts@ecy.wa.gov
    360-280-4325
  • Washington State Department of Ecology – Site coordination
    Mady Lyon, Site Manager
    mady.lyon@ecy.wa.gov
    360-628-3250

This project was funded in 2021-2023 in part through a Public Participation Grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology. The content was reviewed for grant consistency but is not necessarily endorsed by the agency.

Contact us

We welcome your feedback on the GP cleanup process. Send your comments and questions to:

camaswamillinfo@downtowncamas.com

News & Events

Upcoming Meeting about PFAS and GP Mill Cleanup:
July 9, 2024, at Lacamas Lake Lodge, from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

The City of Camas, in conjunction with the WA State Dept. of Ecology, Clark County Public Health and the WA State Dept of Health will host an open house, with a brief introduction provided by the City of Camas to kick off the meeting followed by an open house format where community members can have one-on-one conversations with agency representatives.

Upcoming Community Advisory Group Meetings:

Meetings will be held virtually (unless otherwise noted) every three months and are open for the public to observe here.

Past Community Advisory Group Meetings

Project News Releases & Info:

June 14, 2024: 3rd Draft of the Uplands Remedial Investigation Work Plan for GP Camas (submitted by GP to Ecology: https://apps.ecology.wa.gov/cleanupsearch/document/143102

December 4, 2023: Georgia Pacific Camas Draft Sediment Remedial Investigation Work Plan (including Sampling & Analysis Plan)

November 30, 2023: Dept of Ecology Review and Comments on Georgia Pacific Camas 2nd Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan

October 20, 2023: Yakama Nation Comments on the Revised (March 31, 2023) Agency Review Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan for the Upland areas as the Georgia-Pacific Camas Mill Site

July 11, 2023: CAG Comments on the Revised Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan (sent to Ecology)

July 7, 2023: Car Show Outreach Event Summary

March 31st, 2023: Revised Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan for the GP Mill Cleanup project (submitted by GP to Ecology)

November 4th, 2022: Ecology’s first review and comments on the Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan for the GP Mill Cleanup project

October 13th, 2022: Yakama Nation Comments on the Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan for
Georgia Pacific Camas Mill Site

September 14th, 2022: Camas Farmer’s Market Outreach Event Summary

September 9th, 2022: FAQ page for GP Mill Cleanup

September 9th, 2022: Wheels & Wings Outreach Event Summary

August 5th, 2022: Camas Days Outreach Event Summary

May 19th, 2022: Camas Plant & Garden Fair Outreach Event Summary

February 22, 2022: CAG Comments on the Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan (sent to Ecology)

Posted January 13th, 2022: Camas GP Mill Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan

Dec. 16th, 2021: Downtown Camas Association selects members for mill clean-up community advisory group

Nov. 19th, 2021: Downtown Camas Association recruiting community members for mill clean up advisory group

In the News:

The Columbian 8-19-23
Camas officials rule demolition plan for Georgia-Pacific paper mill won’t have significant adverse environmental impacts

The Columbian 4-9-23
Camas paper mill cleanup group hopes for second grant from state

Camas Post Record 4-6-23
Mill cleanup group sets sights on education, goes out for second grant

The Columbian 1-31-22
Camas Mill Cleanup Will Take Time

Camas Post Record 1-27-22
Camas Mill Cleanup “Will Take Time”

Camas Post Record 1-13-22
Camas Mill Cleanup Community Advisory Group Forms, Plans Public Meeting

The Columbian 11-29-21
Public Will Have Chance to Weigh in on Georgia Pacific Mill Cleanup

Camas Post Record 11-25-21
Public Will Have Chance to Weigh in on Paper Mill Cleanup

The Columbian 11-20-21
Applicants Sought for Camas Mill Cleanup Panel