Electron Dam Can No Longer Flout Pollution Elimination Guidelines

March 3, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Consent decree holds Electron Hydro accountable to Washington State Department of Ecology clean water oversight; criminal and civil charges are still being pursued.

Puyallup River, Washington. Electron Hydro LLC and its Chief Operating Officer Thom Fischer have agreed to apply for a Clean Water Act permit for the Electron Dam facility as part of a consent decree with Communities for a Healthy Bay and Puget Soundkeeper, days after a judge denied Electron Hydro’s motion to stay legal proceedings.

The agreement reached today will resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act associated with routine dam operations, specifically, alleged unpermitted discharges of pollutants including heat, dead and dying fish, sediments, oils, greases, lubricants, and any other pollutants.

If the Court approves the settlement, Electron Hydro will have to apply to the Washington Department of Ecology [Ecology] for a clean water permit to manage and monitor pollutant discharges from Electron’s facilities. Ecology’s permit process will involve public review and input. Puget Soundkeeper and Communities for a Healthy Bay will engage in that process to ensure that the permit is protective of the river.

“This is the first of many enforcement hammers to fall on Electron for their activities at the Electron Dam,” said Melissa Malott, Executive Director at Communities for a Healthy Bay. “This case is far from over, and we will transition our focus to supporting the federal agencies in holding Electron accountable. We won’t stop until we have full protection for this river.”

Electron Hydro and Mr. Fischer, the run-of-the-river dam owner and operator, will continue to face multiple criminal and civil charges over other alleged Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act violations at the facility on the Puyallup River near Orting, Washington. This consent decree does not provide specific relief on claims regarding Electron’s construction project at the dam site, field turf discharges during the summer of 2020, and the company’s subsequent work to winterize the site. Both Communities for a Healthy Bay and Puget Soundkeeper will continue to act as intervenors, alongside the Puyallup Tribe, in those proceedings-even with the agreement reached today.

“This settlement is a vital first step toward holding Electron Hydro fully accountable to federal and state clean water laws,” said Sean Dixon, Executive Director at Puget Soundkeeper. “With this agreement, we’re confident that permit coverage will ensure more robust oversight of this facility’s operations, and a more direct path for communities to hold the dam responsible for any pollution violations in the future.”

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PSK and CHB are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC an environmental law firm with offices in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.

For more information, please contact:

Sean Dixon; Executive Director, Puget Soundkeeper; (206) 297-7002 x IO1; sean@pugetsoundkeeper.org

Melissa Malott; Executive Director, Communities for a Healthy Bay; (253) 444-7039; mmalott@healthybay.org