Background: Camp Bonneville Superfund Petition, Submitted by Rosemere Neigborhood Association & Columbia Riverkeeper
In February 2009, following Rosemere’s extensive involvement in what we consider a faulty clean up action plan at the Camp Bonneville military installation, Vancouver WA, Rosemere and Columbia Riverkeeper submitted a formal petition to the US Environmental Protection Agency to list the property on the National Priorities Superfund List.
See the original superfund petition here: http://www.rosemerena.org/home/2009/04/06/preliminary-superfund-petition-for-camp-bonneville-february-3-2009/
The goal of the petition was to bring EPA back into the project in order to correct failing cleanup efforts, currently at a complete standstill. EPA had been a major participant in cleanup efforts more than 10 years ago, but in 2003, EPA withdrew its involvement citing a lack of cooperation from both Clark County government and the US Department of Defense that owned the contaminated property. Camp Bonneville was a former 4000 acre international military training site where munitions, including missiles, grenades, and chemical warfare were used in live drills.
Documented groundwater contamination at the site has entered the Troutdale Aquifer System, a federally designated Sole Source Aquifer that was petitioned by Rosemere and Columbia Riverkeeper and established in 2006. The source of the contamination is a vast collection (both known and unknown) of buried military munitions and chemicals that have leached into the soil and groundwater throughout the site. Rosemere contends that the plume of toxic chemicals has been mobile for many years, and may have exited to compound, threatening Lacamas Creek and its tributaries, and Lacamas Lake which is hydrologically connected to the Columbia River.
Water Main Break – September 26, 2009
Rosemere residents were unwinding from a busy week on Saturday night, September 26, 2009.
As relaxing bubble baths were being drawn, water ceased flowing. Those with shampoo in their hair found this most inconvenient, but employees of the City of Vancouver who were wrestling with a broken water main on 32nd & Q St. had bigger problems.
In inky darkness, water was shooting out of the broken main, creating a sinkhole which overflowed, flooding the streets. A city employee was probing the massive hole to test for depth. Suddenly the edge he was standing on gave way, plunging him into the raging waters. After swirling around in the maelstrom for what seemed an eternity, he was able to extract himself to safer grounds.
Water flowed down 32nd towards R St., turning the alley into a churning creek, flooding a home on the corner. The area was a news clip disaster. By Sunday morning, hard working city employees repaired the broken main and filled the sink hole.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CRAG Law Center
Dvija Michael Bertish
Rosemere Neighborhood Association
ROSEMERE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION WINS LANDMARK ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE CASE AGAINST EPA’S OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Criticizes EPA for a “Pattern of Delay” in Implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
(September 18, 2009) Rosemere Neighborhood Association (“Rosemere”) is a non-profit community organization in Clark County, Washington, dedicated to environmental protection and the pursuit of improvements to low-income environmental justice communities.
In February 2003, Rosemere first filed a Title VI administrative complaint with EPA’s Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) alleging that the City of Vancouver, WA had discriminated in the provision of municipal services in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Rosemere alleged that Vancouver failed to use EPA funds to address fairly long-standing problems in low-income and minority neighborhoods in West Vancouver.
On April 22, 2009, Clark County’s Board of Health (also known as the Clark County Commissioners) presented community awards to various organizations and individuals that have worked toward improving public health and safety. RNA was awarded a certificate of honorable mention as a “Community organization advocating for health promotion, disease prevention, and social justice through water quality advocacy and monitoring and improving neighborhood livability.” A total of ten community awards were given, including medical and dental caregivers, and health educators.
Click here to view the 2008 Public Health Community Award recipients and RNA’s Health Award Certificate in full view (pdf format).
The Rosemere Neighborhood Association has sent a letter to Governor Chris Gregoire regarding legislation introduced under House Bill 1661 [Reducing the authority of the state board of health with regard to small-scale sewage systems] to remove state oversight on private septic systems. Without state standards, local jurisdictions would have the authority to revoke existing operations and maintenance requirements for on-site septic systems, and local authorities would be faced with public challenges to overturn local codes without the presence of state regulations. In short, this bill would allow failing septic systems to continue to pollute ground and surface water and spread disease. The RNA asserts that a major component of stormwater pollution may be septic tank infiltration through perforated stormwater pipes.
The Rosemere Neighborhood Association and Columbia Riverkeeper submitted comments on proposed revisions to the City of Vancouver’s Storm Water Ordinances, VMC 14.24, 14.25 and 14.26. read the entire document here.
The RNA and CCRNC filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit in October 2004 against
the City of Vancouver pertaining to the City’s unpermitted and contaminated stormwater discharge into Burnt Bridge Creek, and the Columbia River (both of which flow into Vancouver Lake). These discharges into threatened or endangered waterbodies are conveyed through the municipal stormwater sewer system.
On April 1, 2005, RNA and CCNRC’s attorneys filed a supplemental notice of
intent to sue the City of Vancouver under the Clean Water Act for
unpermitted and contaminated non-stormwater related discharges. The city’s municipal stormwater system illegally conveys discharges into Burnt Bridge Creek and the Columbia River on a daily basis during dry weather. These discharges travel to and can impact the water quality of Vancouver Lake.
Unabridged letter printed:
This letter to the editor was written by the Rosemere Neighborhood Association’s attorney, Richard Smith. The letter was published in the Columbian on Sunday, December 19, 2004′ however, it was edited by the Columbian staff and pertinent commentary was removed. The letter is included here in its entirety as it was originally penned.
Scott Hewitt’s December 9, 2004 Reporter’s Notebook about the Rosemere neighborhood warrants a response. It is too bad that the Columbian chooses to slander the Rosemere Neighborhood Association, which is a group of well-intentioned people pointing out the naked-emperorness of city government for the common good. Also, how is it responsible journalism to repeat unsupported (and easily debunked) defamatory remarks in the context of an obvious neighborhood feud?
Did you pay septic tank conversion fees? The City of Vancouver may owe you money!
From 1972 to at least 1999, many residents (citywide) paid fees into a septic tank conversion fund if their homes operated on private septic tanks instead of city sanitary sewer service. These funds were paid under monthly septic penalty fees. Some individuals may have equity in these fees in excess of $7,000 (including interest).
May 3, 2004
Members of the RNA Board met with representatives of the Clark County Health Department, the City of Vancouver’s Public Works Department, and local Water Quality Experts to discuss failing septic systems and cesspools in the Rosemere Neighborhood and the Burnt Bridge Creek Watershed in general.