MARYSVILLE — The owners of a former leather tannery next to Quil Ceda Creek have been fined $120,000 for illegally storing and improperly managing hazardous waste.
During an inspection of Quil Ceda Tanning Co. in October 2015, the state Department of Ecology identified 14 different chemical wastes, including flammable liquids, acids, peroxide and bromine. Some of the materials were left unprotected and open to the elements.
After the 2015 inspection, the department ordered the company to remove 2,750 pounds of chemicals from the property.
“This is a significant fine, and it’s that way because of the number and types of materials involved,” said Ecology spokesman Andrew Wineke.
The company no longer operates a tannery, only a retail store selling leather goods and tanning products at 3922 88th St. NE. Two other businesses lease space on the 21.4 acre lot from Matico LLC, the owner of Quil Ceda Tanning.
Under state law, landlords are ultimately responsible for the activities of their tenants.
Some of the hazardous materials were owned by Quil Ceda Tanning, but more were abandoned on the site of a tenant, NW Chemical Recycling, whose owner died in July 2015.
Another part of the former tannery was being used to store chemicals from a neighboring business, Metal Finishing Inc. The tannery never obtained a necessary state permit.
The company also was fined in 2012 by the state for similar mishandling, and that factored into this fine, Wineke said.
“We felt there was a potential threat to human health and the environment in managing these chemicals this way,” Wineke said.
He said there has been no report of a spill or other incident that already has affected the local environment or people.
The attorney for the tanning company, Donya Burns, denied all the charges and said an appeal is planned to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board. She declined to specify the basis for the appeal.