Latest Eco-Crime Leaves Toxic Mess on the Peninsula

Just South of Bay Street sits an abandoned trailer that has been torched, turning it into a toxic mess.  With the hopes of getting this mess cleaned up properly and promptly before the rain hits or winds pick up, Surfrider Humboldt has sent Virginia Bass a letter of urgency.  We will keep you updated on the status of this issue!

Hello Supervisor Bass,

I am contacting you regarding a camper trailer parked just off the highway in Fairhaven about halfway between Bay Street and the airport, an area I believe falls within your district.

I am not certain exactly when this trailer was abandoned out there but it was tagged last week by HCSO with notification that it was to be towed on 9/28/12.  Unfortunately some time prior to that, arson was committed and the thing is now an unstable and dangerous pile of trash, much of which is getting dispersed throughout the area.  There was undoubtedly a lot of plastic and who knows what else combusted which means there are likely a lot of PCBs and other toxic materials being freely moved about by the elements.

It is imperative that this mess gets cleaned up before the first rains hit, and I would think it a very good idea to move on it before there is even any substantial wind.  It is very fortunate we’ve had only slight winds the last few days but that is rarely the case out there and 20 to 25 mph are common most afternoons.

I have already contact the BLM, county parks, the Sheriff’s department, and Public Health about this problem but so far no one has been able to give me any idea when or even if their agency will take action.  Public Health alone did at least seem to take notice and promised to get back to me.  Unfortunately I am given to understand that this particular location lies on a tiny sliver of private land between parks territory to the north and BLM to the south, apparently along an old pipeline easement from what was the Simpson pulp mill, so that may make it easy for public agencies to avoid taking responsibity.  It appears that Rob Arkely is the owner of that parcel, although I am not certain of that nor do I know to what extent he can be made responsible for dealing with somebody else’s criminal mess that found its way onto his property due to no fault of his own.  That said, it certainly would not hurt his standing in the community were he to help out.

Ultimately it is not clear who is responsible for this but it very important that the mess be cleaned up, and I would further hope that HCSO is going to actively investigate and hopefully prosecute both whoever dumped it and who commited the arson.

For what it’s worth, the Humboldt Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is eager to see that this gets dealt with, and while we are not equipped to handle its removal we can at least provide some volunteer labor to assist in the cleanup.  But given the criminal nature of its origin, the likely toxic makeup of the mess, and the fact that it likely sits on private land, we would want some official agency to take lead on the effort and provide us with some direction and cover from liability.

Since it appears this is in your district, your attention to the matter is appreciated, with emphasis on the fact that time is of the essence.

Thanks very much,
Scott Willits
Treasurer, Surfrider Foundation Humboldt Chapter


2 Responses

  1. Why don’t you go out with a shovel and do the process yourself. We have far more serious issues to deal with.

  2. did you really have to try and drag Arkley into this. and in the time it took you to write this you could have bagged it. so surfrider does beach cleanup but not if they can play political games with alleged owners. weak.

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