Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health

PRESS RELEASE

Date Released: 5/16/2008
Subject: Lucas Hall News Release
Contact: Brian Cox, Director, Environmental Health Division
Phone: 707-445-6215

On May 12, 2008, a consent agreement was signed between Lucas Hall and the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health (DEH) in an administrative enforcement action initiated by DEH. Under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Hall must correct all violations, complete a full clean-up of his property caused by leaking fuel tanks and pay a penalty of $156,446.00.
On December 11, 2007, DEH inspectors identified 28 environmental violations associated with a cannabis growing operation on property owned by Mr. Lucas Hall of Fortuna, including the following:
1. The installation and operation of two unpermitted underground storage tanks and piping to power an unpermitted power generator. The tanks leaked diesel fuel into the soil. They were improperly installed and were not monitored to detect leaks, among other violations.
2. Installation and operation of two aboveground storage tanks without preparing a spill prevention, control and countermeasures (SPCC) plan. These tanks were placed in the ravine of a diverted creek and leaked diesel fuel into the soil in the creek bank.
3. The collection and storage of hazardous waste in unapproved containers.
4. Improper handling and disposal of hazardous waste.
5. Failing to report to authorities the release of hazardous materials to the environment.
6. Failing to provide the necessary reports for the storage of hazardous materials.
As part of the settlement agreement, a credit of $81,446 will be made to Mr. Hall for completion of the remediation of his contaminated property which is located east of Alderpoint in south-eastern Humboldt County. A breach of the consent order would cause the Unilateral Order to be in effect, with the original full penalty of $3,779,602. Mr. Hall disputes Environmental Health’s determination of violations but has agreed to the settlement.
Over the past ten years, Division of Environmental Health (DEH) has become increasingly concerned with chemical releases associated with the cultivation of cannabis. Releases of diesel fuel and waste oil continue to be common at cannabis growing operations due to improper storage and handling of these chemicals which are toxic to humans, aquatic organisms and other wildlife, threaten drinking water, and can present an increased risk of uncontrolled fires.

 

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