Tuesday, July 18, 2017

OSHA has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide for General Industry and Maritime to help small business employers comply with the agency's Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica

New guide will help small businesses comply with OSHA's silica rule for general industry and maritime 

OSHA has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide for General Industry and Maritime to help small business employers comply with the agency's Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. 

The guide describes the steps that employers are required to take to protect employees in general industry and maritime from the hazards associated with silica exposure. 

These requirements include: assessing worker exposures; using engineering and work practice controls to keep exposures below a specified safety threshold; and offering medical exams to certain highly exposed workers. 

Enforcement of the final rule in general industry and maritime is scheduled to begin June 23, 2018

Minnesota OSHA issued $52,800 in penalties to Rahr Malting Co. in Shakopee for safety violations identified after worker 58-year-old Kelly Clifford Hoban was fatally injured in January by falling into a large grain bin

Minnesota cites company for safety violations following worker fatality

Minnesota OSHA issued $52,800 in penalties to Rahr Malting Co. in Shakopee for safety violations identified after a worker was fatally injured in January.

Inspectors issued four serious citations to the company after determining that it failed to control potentially hazardous energy and provide point-of-operation machine guarding; as a result, a worker was caught in a machine and suffered fatal injuries.


MINNEAPOLIS, MN (WCCO) — The work year was barely a day old when Minnesota suffered its first fatal workplace accident.

58-year-old Kelly Clifford Hoban, of South St. Paul, died Monday evening after falling into a large grain bin at a Shakopee plant, making contact with some processing equipment.

The call came in around 9:15 p.m. at the Rahr Malting Company plant, a major supplier of malt to United States breweries. Emergency crews arrived to discover Hoban deceased in a grain bin. It appears to be an accidental fall.

Company officials say Hoban had been employed at the plant for just three months.

James Honerman, a spokesman for the Department of Labor and Industry, says OSHA opened its investigation of the death Tuesday.

Investigators will start by looking at worker training, any hazards that were present and examining safety protocols in place at the time.

“[We’re] trying to determine what caused or contributed [to the death], and then if there [were] any OSHA standards that were violated, that’s what we would be looking for,” Honerman said.

State records show that Rahr was last inspected back in 2009. The state has issued the company seven separate safety violations since 1989, although none were major.

A 2013 explosion rocked Rahr’s power subsidiary on the property, Koda Energy, but there were no injuries. Minnesota OSHA did not investigate that incident.

“Our goal is to find out what may have caused or contributed, but we don’t necessarily have a time frame for when that occurs,” Honerman said.

Rahr issued a statement expressing sadness for all employees, and condolences to Hoban’s family, adding, “We are working with public safety officials and OSHA to evaluate all aspects of the incident.” Minnesota has an average of 17 workplace fatalities each year. The leading factors are employees coming into contact with an object or equipment, followed by accidental falls

FEMA Building Science Branch released the first edition of Safer, Stronger, Smarter: A Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety, FEMA P-1000

FEMA P-1000, Safer, Stronger, Smarter: A Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety (June 2017)

The FEMA Building Science Branch is pleased to announce the release of the first edition of Safer, Stronger, Smarter: A Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety, FEMA P-1000

This Guide provides up-to-date, authoritative information and guidance that schools can use to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing natural hazards, including earthquake, tsunami, flood, hurricane, tornado, and high wind. It is intended to be used by administrators, facilities managers, emergency managers, emergency planning committees, and teachers and staff at K through 12 schools. It can also be valuable for state officials, district administrators, school boards, teacher union leaders, and others that play a role in providing safe and disaster-resistant schools for all. Parents, caregivers, and students can also use this Guide to learn about ways to advocate for safe schools in their communities.

This new Guide presents information and guidance on:
  • Identifying natural hazards that could potentially impact a school;
  • Making new and existing school buildings safer for children and staff, and more resistant to damage during natural disasters;
  • Planning and preparing for effective and successful response during a natural disaster;
  • Recovering after a natural disaster as quickly and robustly as possible, and being better prepared for future events; and
  • Engaging the whole community in the entire process in order to improve school and community disaster resilience.
To download a copy of FEMA P-1000 please go to: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/132592

YET ANOTHER WISCONSIN TEEN IS KILLED IN ATV CRASH: Helmetless Eric O'Connor died after his ATV collided with a car driven by another teen in the town of Primrose, WI

YET ANOTHER WISCONSIN TEEN IS KILLED IN ATV CRASH: Helmetless Eric O'Connor died after his ATV collided with a car driven by another teen in the town of Primrose, WI

A 17-year-old male teen from Verona who died after his ATV collided with a car Sunday morning was identified as Eric O'Connor by the Dane County Medical Examiner's Office on Monday.  He was not wearing a helmet.  Too sad, as it might have saved his life.  Learn from this tragedy and live.

O'Connor died as a result of injuries sustained after the ATV he was operating crashed into a car in the town of Primrose around 11:30 a.m. The Dane County Sheriff's Office said the preliminary investigation indicates O'Connor was headed west on Highway A near O'Connor Road when he collided with a passing Honda Accord. He died on the scene.

The car's driver, a 17-year-old girl, and a passenger, a 17-year-old boy, both from Belleville, were not injured and are cooperating with the investigation, the Sheriff's Office said.

The Sheriff's Office said O'Connor was not wearing a helmet, and no preliminary evidence suggests drug or alcohol use of those involved in the collision.

The Medical Examiner's Office and Sheriff's Office continue to investigate the crash.

We all like to have fun, just like young Eric, but we also want to be healthy and alive.  Safety is paramount when people operate machinery, equipment, etc.  All kids need to be taught that at very early time.  Otherwise the life will be snapped out of you, just like that.  And then will be sorrow, plenty of sorrow for everyone involved.

Here are the Wisconsin laws regarding ATV operation:


State Laws
  • Children under 12 must wear a helmet at all times except if the ATV is operated for agricultural purposes or on family's land.
  • Children between age 12 and 18 must wear a helmet, unless hunting or fishing, operating for agricultural purposes, or on their family's land.
  • All ATVs are required to be registered. There are two types of registration: (1) public land use, which is renewed every two years or (2) private land use, which lasts for the lifetime of the vehicle.
  • No one under 12 may operate an ATV unless operating on their family's land, operating for agricultural purposes and under direct supervision of a person over age 18, or unless operating a 4-wheel ATV of 90cc or less on a designated ATV trail and accompanied by a parent.
  • No one under 12 may operate an ATV on a roadway.
  • Children at least age 12 and born on or after January 1, 1988, must have taken a safety training course, unless operating on family's land.
  • ATV use on roads is prohibited, except for agricultural purposes or to cross these roads.
  • ATVs shall not be operated during hours of darkness without a lighted taillight and headlight.
State Agency that Regulates ATVs: Department of Natural Resources

 These Wisconsin ATV laws are ridiculously unsafe.  All riders must wear helmets at all times.  And they dare having exceptions on wearing helmets for agricultural purposes?  Give me a break Wisconsin, otherwise more kids will break their heads.

TOWN OF PRIMROSE, Wis. - A 17-year-old boy is dead after his ATV collided with a car outside Verona Sunday afternoon, according to Dane County deputies.

Officials said Eric O'Connor was riding his ATV along County Road A in the town of Primrose when it collided with a vehicle going in the same direction. O'Connor was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two 17-year-olds riding in the car were uninjured and cooperated with investigators. Deputies say there is no evidence of alcohol or drug use by anyone involved in the crash. O'Connor was not wearing a helmet.

The Dane County Medical Examiner's Office said O'Connor died from injuries sustained in the crash.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said all lanes of traffic were blocked on state Highway 92 at County Road A for over two hours after the incident happened.


Here is his obituary:

Eric James O’Connor, 17, passed away on July 16th as a result of an ATV/car accident.

He was born in Madison, WI on June 25, 2000. Eric loved growing up on the O’Connor Family Farm in the Town of Primrose. He was a student at Belleville High School where he played football, basketball, and track & field. He was also very active in FFA, 4-H, and high school choir. He was fun loving and could put a smile on everyone’s face, always the life of the party. He also loved to be in the outdoors hunting, fishing and kayaking the river with friends. He loved to cook for all of his friends, especially the wild game they would hunt.

Eric is survived by his parents, Steve and Sherry (Johnson) O’Connor, sister, Kristin and brother, Tony (Town of Primrose/Belleville). Grandparents, Frank and Lucille O’Connor (Belleville) and Ken and Judy (Johnson) Burton, Monticello. Many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather Donald Johnson and a brother William George O’Connor in infancy.

His family would like everyone to remember him by his contagious smile, vibrant personality, and sense of humor.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 20, 2017 at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 338 S. Harrison St., Belleville, WI with the Rev. Michael Moon officiating with burial in the Exeter Cemetery.

Relatives and friends may call from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Belleville.

In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund is being established in honor of Eric at Union Bank and Trust in Belleville.

“Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Everyday”   Well not every day, as thousands of days left unused by the premature death of this young man.  How in the world allow ATV ridding on the roads in Wisconsin?  They need to change their laws, otherwise teens will get killed and mothers will continue to shed tears.

An online memorial with guestbook is available at www.bealfuneralhomes.com

Liquid propane gas may have triggered the home explosion Sunday in Marquette County, Wisconsin that injured 2 and totaled the home

Liquid propane gas may have triggered the home explosion Sunday in Marquette County, Wisconsin that injured 2 and totaled the home

TOWN OF MONTELLO, Wis. - Investigators are looking into what role LP gas might have played in a home explosion Sunday in Marquette County.

The two homeowners, who were at home during the explosion, had reported the smell of gas and had it checked out Friday, Marquette County Sheriff Kim Gaffney said.

Gaffney said the home is a total loss. It was knocked completely off its foundation and the roof was separated.

He said the home was connected to a private LP gas tank, but declined to say what private company was serving the home. He also said there was a painting crew at the house over the weekend.

“They were there for the weekend, had smelled some gas, contacted their supplier and they came out and did checks on the place, but something happened where they didn’t have it or the leak was undetermined, and that’s the theory we’re working on at this point,” Gaffney said.

The two homeowners suffered some injuries in the explosion.

Gaffney said the investigation is ongoing.


Sheriff: Marquette County house explodes, 2 people injured

Chris Gothner

Updated: Jul 17, 2017 07:12 AM CDT

TOWN OF MONTELLO, Wis. - A home in rural Marquette County exploded Sunday morning, injuring two people inside, Marquette County Sheriff Kim Gaffney said.

Gaffney said dispatchers received a call of a house exploding at around 8:37 a.m. at W1755 White Lake Ct. in the town of Montello.

"It was a vibration. It was a bang. It was stronger than a sonic boom, stronger than the thunder we've been having with all that rain," neighbor Eileen Niven said. "I could feel it. It shook the house. It shook the foundation. "

Upon arrival, deputies found the home's occupants outside; they suffered from non-life threatening injuries and were taken to a local hospital, the sheriff said.

"The home appears to be severely damaged from what looks like an explosion," Gaffney said in an email to News 3.

Neighbors told News 3 Reporter Keely Arthur that the two people who lived in the house moved in last month, calling it their "dream retirement home."

An eyewitness said next door neighbors were able to get homeowners out of the house during the explosion.

"Both homeowners were in the house. Two other neighbors went in and got them out," Niven said. "They brought over a couple of chairs so they could at least sit."

Gaffney said Marquette County deputies and the Montello Fire Department are investigating the incident Sunday afternoon.

Authorities have not released a cause as of Sunday afternoon.

Jillian M. Elliott, 34, of Woodbine, NJ who was under the influence of Xanax when she caused a head-on crash in Cape May County last year that killed Karen Davies, 70, has been sentenced to nine years in state prison.

DENNIS TWP., NJ -- A 34-year-old woman who was under the influence of Xanax when she caused a head-on crash in Cape May County last year has been sentenced to nine years in state prison.

Jillian M. Elliott, of Woodbine, was convicted of first-degree aggravated manslaughter in the fatal crash.

Elliott was driving a 2000 Ford Expedition east on Route 83 on June 29, 2016 when she crossed the yellow line and slammed into a 2007 Toyota 4Runner.

The crash killed Karen Davies, 71, of Malvern, Pa. Davies was a passenger in the Toyota, ShoreNewsToday.com reported last year. The driver was treated for minor injuries.

Ellliott was not injured. She was sentenced Friday, the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement Monday afternoon.

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – A Woodbine woman involved in a fatal vehicle crash last year has been sentenced to nine years in prison for driving while under the influence of Xanax, said Cape May County Prosecutor Robert L. Taylor.

Jillian M. Elliott, 34, was sentenced to the prison term by Superior Court Judge Michael Donohue.

On June 29, 2016, state police investigated a crash near milepost 3.4 on Route 83 in Dennis Township. Officers said the initial investigation showed that Elliott, heading east in a Ford Expedition, crossed over the yellow line and struck a Toyota 4Runner head on.

Karen Davies, 71, of Malvern, Pa., was a passenger in the Toyota and died as a result of her injuries.

Taylor said the sentence is a result of the investigative work by members of the New Jersey State Police, along with the efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Saverio Carroccia.

Dennis Township, New Jersey woman charged with DWI in fatal accident

July 5, 2016

DENNIS TOWNSHIP, NJ – A Pennsylvania woman was killed in a two-car crash Wednesday, June 29 on Route on Route 83, and a surviving Dennis Township woman faces charges of driving while intoxicated, state police said.

Karen Davies, 70, died as a result of injuries received in a head-on crash at milepost 3.4, according to a statement from police. Jillian Elliot, 33, Dennis Township, NJ was not injured in the crash and faces additional charges pending the state’s toxicology report, police said.

According to police Elliot was traveling east in a green Ford Expedition when her vehicle crossed the center line of the road and struck a white Toyota Four Runner. Davies was the front seat passenger in the Toyota, and suffered severe injuries in the crash.

Police said Davies was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City where she was later pronounced dead. Police said the driver of the Toyota, who was not identified, sustained minor injuries in the crash.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing, police said.

Jillian Elliot, 33, from Woodbine was charged June 29 with vehicular homicide and DWI (drugs) during the course of a fatal motor vehicle accident investigation on SH 83 in Dennis Township. During the investigation it was determined that she was under the influence. She was processed and lodged in Cape May County Correctional Center. 

Minnesota OSHA has imposed a $7,000 fine on McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing in Dodge Center for a "serious" violation tied to the explosion in January where two employees suffered burns on half their body and 6 people injured

The Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration has imposed a $7,000 fine on McNeilus Trucking in Dodge Center for a "serious" violation tied to the explosion in January.

Six people were injured in the explosion on January 11, two employees suffered burns on half their body.

At the time, doors on the final painting building could be seen blasted out.

According to the inspection detail, the state cited Minnesota standard for a General Duty Clause, which states "Each employer shall furnish to each of its employees conditions of employment and a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious injury or harm to its employees."

That standard is cited when there is an unsafe condition that does not fit into a specific OSHA standard, according to James Honerman, Communication Director for Minnesota Dept. of Labor and Industry.

Oshkosh Corporation, which owns McNeilus, can contest the citation. If they chose to do so, Minnesota OSHA will hold a formal conference to try to negotiate a settlement.

Further details of the investigation and report are not public until the case is settled, according to Honerman.

According to OSHA, because the case is still open, violations and citations may change.

The State Fire Marshals also investigated.


Six hurt when explosion rocks Dodge Center truck manufacturing firm

Authorities say the blast occurred in a paint booth.

By Tim Harlow Star Tribune
January 11, 2017 — 9:57pm

An explosion ripped through a truck manufacturing plant in the small southern Minnesota town of Dodge Center late Wednesday morning, injuring at least six people, authorities said.

Two workers at McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing were flown to Regions Hospital with severe burn injuries and two were taken by ambulance to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, where they were being treated for "serious injuries," said Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose.

Two employees were being treated at the scene for minor injuries, he added.

Investigators were trying to determine what caused the blast that was reported at 10:32 a.m. inside the north complex of the sprawling plant that produces cement and garbage trucks powered by compressed natural gas.

The explosion occurred in a "paint booth" where there was work going on, Rose said. But it was not clear if paint fumes or natural gas may have ignited, the sheriff said.

The blast was strong enough to cause extensive damage to the long and narrow complex, which features several production lines. Doors were blown off and there was lots of smoke, Rose said.

Police, firefighters and paramedics from multiple agencies rushed to the scene. The road in front of the plant, County Road 34, was blocked off for about three hours. It reopened around 1:30 p.m.

More than 1,000 people work at McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing, but many of them were off site attending training Wednesday.

"We are fortunate from an employee standpoint that we didn't have more injuries due to this incident," Rose said.

Rose said all employees who were on the job at the time have been accounted for and only the six people were hurt.

"If you have not been contacted about a family member, they are OK or were not involved in the incident," Rose said.

All production employees were sent home for the day. It was not clear when work at one of the largest employers in the county would resume.

Rose said the company had safety plans in place.

"They run a top-notch company," he said. "We don't see many calls here."

Oregon OSHA inspection of City of Rainier's sewer plant found multiple violations of workplace safety rules, such as failing to adequately protect workers from used hypodermic needles that show up in the plant’s filters.

City of Rainier's sewer plant faces multiple OSHA violations

Jackson Hogan jackson.hogan@tdn.com

A state inspection of Rainier’s sewage treatment plant left the city with eight different violations of workplace safety rules, and the city may face $780 in fines over them.

A month-long Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division inspection that began April 24 found some minor slip-ups, such as failing to have a monthly safety committee meeting, to more prominent violations, such as failing to adequately protect workers from used hypodermic needles that show up in the plant’s filters.

Specifically, the city failed to evaluate the health risks the needles posed, and it did not offer Hepatitis B vaccines to employees exposed to the needles.

The needles, presumably flushed down the toilet, are themselves not the cause of the citations, OSHA representative Aaron Corvin said Monday. Rather, it’s the city’s failure to protect workers from bloodborne pathogens that is the issue, he said.

OSHA also cited the city for failing to train wastewater employees in confined space procedures at the plant. Corvin said OSHA takes confined space evaluations very seriously.

A confined space, such as a pit, well, vat, bin, pipe or tank, can be very difficult to exit in an emergency. OSHA said employers must develop a written program educating employees about safe procedures if a dangerous situation should arise in a confined space, Corvin said.

The OSHA report, released Monday, also flagged other safety issues, such as the presence of several unlabeled kerosene containers, an expired calibration gas cylinder, and a lack of regular safety committee meetings.

For their eight citations, OSHA is proposing a whopping $780 in penalties.

The sewer plant, designed to treat up to 2.5 million gallons of sewage daily, employs five workers.

Rainier’s sewer treatment plant has faced multiple trials as of late. In May, former plant employee Justin Spencer claimed that water discharged from the plant into the Columbia River was not always properly treated before release.

There were also claims that the plant’s emergency alarm system wasn’t working, according to computer technician Larry Helenius.

On top of all this, the Oregon State Police are investigating the theft of a backup computer used to store data on the plant’s operations.

Mayor Jerry Cole said the city has already started addressing OSHA’s concerns, including regular safety committee meetings, enrolling employees in a bloodborne pathogens class, and evaluating the plant’s confined spaces.

“Safety is paramount. We want to make sure everything is right, and if we did something wrong, we want to make it right.”

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality in recent years has also issued several letters to the city of Rainier, stating that the city had violated its wastewater permit five times since 2014.

OSHA’s inspection of the plant, however, specifically had to do with workplace safety issues, not with making sure the plant is treating waste adequately. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality oversees whether the plant is meeting water quality standards.


All is not well at the city of Rainier’s sewage treatment plant.

Since at least 2014, Rainier’s wastewater treatment plant has had a history of permit violations that have led to multiple warnings from Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality. Now, current and former employees and contractors for the city allege that the plant has been mismanaged and run improperly for years.

Former Rainier public works employee Justin Spencer, who worked for the city from August 2013 through March 2015, told The Daily News last week that water discharged from the plant into the Columbia River was not always properly treated before release.

The $9.7 million plant was completed in 2009 after a year and a half of construction, and the city touted it as more energy efficient and capable of meeting stricter environmental standards. Spencer didn’t see it that way.

“One of the first things I noticed (when I started working there) was that the UV lights were never on in the effluent trough,” Spencer said. “That’s a huge issue, that’s part of the process before (the wastewater) is discharged.”

UV radiation passing through the water kills harmful organisms before they get into the river, but the UV lights “were off the amount of time I was there,” Spencer said.

Spencer described wastewater treatment facilities as sorts of living, breathing creatures that rely on aeration and healthy, waste-eating bacteria to work properly. Prior to working at Rainier’s plant, Spencer was employed as a biosolids site operator at Three Rivers Regional Wastewater in Longview. (Three Rivers is a much larger operation, designed to handle an average 26 million gallons of water per day with a maximum of 62 million. Rainier’s can only handle between 500,000 and 2.5 million gallons per day).

“Even the effluent that went into the river (at Rainier) looked and smelled like sewage,” Spencer said.

Spencer said that he tried to tell his supervisors about his concerns, but “it just kind of went in one ear and out the other.

“At some point in time you just kind of keep your mouth shut and move on.”

A request for an interview with Rainier Public Works director Dan Foultner, who operated the plant until 2015, was denied.

Computer technician Larry Helenius − who helped install the plant’s electronic monitoring software when the plant first went online − confirmed Spencer’s report about the UV lights. Helenius was called in when the plant switched operators in early 2015 to help install an alarm that would send out a call whenever the UV light intensity dipped below permitted levels.

Based on his observations and description from the operator, “It seemed like the UV system had been offline for some time,” Helenius said.

Helenius also said that during a site visit during the beginning of 2015 he discovered that the plant’s emergency alarm system was not working.

“(The plant operator) originally called me out there because he was not getting any alarms at home from the plant when he wasn’t there,” Helenius said. “I came out there because I had set up the original auto-dialer.”

Helenius discovered that the alarm’s auto-dialer was shut off and that the electronic monitoring program connected to the alarm had been closed.

“I thought it was real simple,” Helenius said. “The auto-dialer software went through the motions to (call) out, and it didn’t go anywhere.”

After checking the modem, which seemed to be OK, Helenius plugged in a phone and found that the line was dead.

“The phone line had been dead for who knows how long,” Helenius said. “I don’t really have any idea how long it was off.”

While the UV lights and the plant’s emergency call system have since been fixed, current employees have told The Daily News that some problems persist. One is that the amount of septage, or sludge, that the plant accepts on a daily basis, has increased sharply, making it more difficult to keep the plant in compliance with wastewater treatment standards.

Septage is partially treated waste that’s stored in septic tanks and is typically pumped out by a private contractor, such as Roto-Rooter or United Site Services. Haulers pay a per-gallon fee to the city to dispose of their waste with the plant.

Spencer, the former public works employee, also had qualms about the septage that Rainier’s plant was accepting when he worked there.

Although it is not against the plant’s permit to accept septage for treatment, the plant was not designed to take large quantities of the concentrated materials, Spencer said. At the Three Rivers wastewater plant, Spencer said, septage was slowly poured in so it wouldn’t overwhelm the treatment system. At Rainier, no such measures were taken, he said.

The plant also never had a DEQ-approved plan for how to handle septage, though Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has noted that it is now aware that the plant accepts “significant quantities of septage,” said Randall Bailey, the official DEQ inspector for the plant.

“Having and following a Hauled Waste Plan assures DEQ and Rainier that the plant will not accept material that it cannot treat and it will not be overloaded,” Bailey said.

At this point, the city has submitted a plan for DEQ approval, which will likely involve a suggested limit of 13,600 gallons of hauled waste per day. It is unclear at this point how much septage the plant has taken in the past or how much it receives currently.

According to financial audits available with the Oregon Secretary of State, the city did not report any sludge revenue in 2010. But starting in 2011, revenues from the disposal of sludge first appeared and continued to rise, peaking in 2014. In 2011, the city reported $32,509 in sludge revenue, followed by $144,576 in 2012, $200,732 in 2013, $310,068 in 2014, $205,951 in 2015 and $213,125 in 2016.

“The amount of septage haulers that were coming into that plant, it was overloading the plant all the time,” Spencer said. “It wasn’t designed to take that amount of septage.”

Despite these claims to The Daily News, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality officials say there is no current investigation into the operation of the plant.

However, two other state agencies are currently investigating other issues at the plant. Oregon’s Occupational Health and Safety administration has an open investigation with the city in response to workplace safety complaints from the plant, which originated in early May.

Oregon State Police are also investigating the plant regarding the theft of a backup computer. It was used to track data that assure compliance with the plant’s clean water requirements and to communicate with the emergency alarm system.

The computer vanished the evening of May 9, according to Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole. Cole said Rainier police received a report from the wastewater plant’s operator that the computer could not be found.

The theft came days after The Daily News filed a public records request for water quality data from the sewer plant’s system. It is unclear if the theft of the computer will delay The Daily News’s request for records by any significant amount of time.

“(The plant operator) said maybe it was stolen,” Cole said. “Any time we hear of any theft, we take all of those allegations seriously.”

Cole said the Oregon State Police will conduct an independent investigation to avoid any conflicts of interest that might arise if the city investigated itself.

“It very well could just be misplaced,” Cole said of the computer. “But we don’t like to mess around with any accusations or allegations of such.” Oregon State Police confirmed Monday that there was an active investigation into the plant but declined to release further details.

Cole said the computer contains “history of just about everything wastewater-related.”

According to Rainier’s city administrator, Debra Dudley, the data is backed up on another computer, but it is unclear where it is backed up or how it will be made available.

History of DEQ violations

Other documents obtained by The Daily News through a public records request show DEQ has issued several letters to the city notifying it that the plant had violated its wastewater permit five times since 2014. Violations included exceeding dissolved oxygen levels in wastewater discharged to the Columbia River, sewage spills, failing to notify DEQ about spills in a timely manner and failing to have a certified operator on site.

Records of state enforcement actions against the plant prior to 2014 were not immediately available from the DEQ. An inspection conducted on Jan. 24 this year showed the plant was currently operating in compliance with its permit.

On Nov. 18, 2014, the city received a warning letter from DEQ advising that the plant had committed two medium-severity violations.

The letter noted that in August and September 2014, the plant exceeded its permit limits for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), a measure of the quantity of oxygen used by microorganisms (e.g., aerobic bacteria) in the oxidation of organic matter. Releasing too much oxygen-absorbing pollutants harms the river’s ecology. When a plant exceeds BOD limits, the operator is required to submit a report stating the cause of the violation and “the steps taken or planned to reduce, eliminate, and prevent recurrence of the noncompliance.”

No such reports were submitted to the DEQ, which prompted the warning letter.

On May 19, 2015, the Oregon Emergency Response System received a report of a sewer line break with sewage dumping into a ditch near Larch Street and Washington Way (there is also an intersection of Larch and Washington Way in Longview, but they are not the same). According to the incident description filed, “The rate is approximately four gallons per minute and has been diverted into a manhole. The initial spill did reach a nearby ditch that leads to an unknown named creek. There is no evidence the sewage reached the creek.”

The permit for the wastewater plant requires that any spill or overflow be reported to the DEQ.

The ditch was dug out and the soil was replaced. While the city received a warning letter, no fine was levied by DEQ.

On Aug. 27, 2015, the City of Rainier received yet another warning letter from DEQ regarding this leak. According to the letter, standard reports from former Public Works Director James Dahlquist verified that the leak was discovered on May 15, four days prior to notification to OERS.

Rainier’s wastewater permit requires DEQ notification within 24 hours of discovery. This failure earned the plant another medium-severity violation.

While investigating this leak, DEQ also discovered another permit violation, this time regarding who was supervising the plant at the time the leak occurred.

The plant’s permit requires “a properly certified operator (to) supervise the city’s sewage collection system, and that a properly certified supervisor be available at all times to respond on-site at the request of the permittee and to any other operator.”

According to the warning letter, neither of the certified operators were consulted or notified when the leak was identified. For this, the sewage plant received a “Class One” violation, the most serious violation the DEQ hands out.

The warning letter notes that after a meeting with DEQ inspectors on June 24, 2015, the city had taken actions to fix the problems noted in the warning letter.

The DEQ never took formal enforcement action and never levied any fines against the City of Rainier, though it did threaten the city with civil penalties if any of the violations were repeated.

On May 3, 2016, the city received one more warning letter in regards to a sewer overflow at the plant that occurred on March 18. This time the spill was reported within the 24-hour period required by DEQ, but after reviewing the incident DEQ determined the spill was entirely preventable.

According to the warning letter, about 200 gallons of raw sewage were released from the plant to the ground surface. “The spill started when a power supply transfer switch failed, which incapacitated the pump controls and the alarm system,” the letter read.

The pumps did not start when needed, and no alarms were sent to the plant’s operators. The overflow continued until city personnel checked on the station, according to the letter.

While the spill was cleaned up properly and did not enter any bodies of water, the spill was the result of “inadequate design of the pump controls and alarm system,” the letter stated.

“There’s a lot of little things that I did witness when I was there,” Spencer said. “As far as the sewage stuff goes, I live downriver from that plant. So, that was kind of the sticker with me.”

2 MORE SPEEDING DRUNK TEENS BITE THE DUST IN KENTUCKY: Two Louisville teens, Alexus “Lexi” Raeshell Gray, 16, and her boyfriend Isaiah Basham, died in a high-speed fiery crash early Sunday morning when their car hit a tree and caught fire

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two Louisville teens died in a fiery crash early Sunday morning when their car hit a tree. Family members of the teens said they have more questions than answers in the deadly accident.

Police said the crash happened around 3:30 a.m. July 16, near the intersection of Herr Lane and Westport Road. The family believes there had to be a chase of some kind for the teens to crash like they did.

Louisville Metro Police Department officials said officers spotted their car driving erratically and speeding southbound on Herr Lane near Ballard High School. Police said they turned on emergency equipment, but the car was so far in front of them it didn't turn into a chase. The car hit a tree right outside of Westport Village and caught fire.

LMPD Sergeant Phil Russell said, "They were so far off, the accident occurred well in advance of them getting close enough to engage the vehicle."

Family and friends of Alexus “Lexi” Raeshell Gray, 16, and her boyfriend Isaiah Basham are now left wondering how the crash happened.  Well, these two morons were drunk and speeding- this is how it happened.

Basham's uncle, Chad Harlamert, said, "When they got here (pointing at the tree) the car was engulfed in flames, well my niece, his (Basham's) sister was behind them following behind them doing 80 miles an hour trying to keep up with them and couldn't."

Harlamert continued, "I just want to know what happened, that's all I want to know. I just want to know the truth."

Meanwhile, loved ones filled the crash site with flowers and pictures of the two former Ballard High students.

Lexi was remembered for her bright smile and personality to match.

Her friend Billy Houston dropped off flowers.

"She was a very loving person and she was always there for Isaiah no matter really what was going on," he said.

Basham had a budding music career.

"We could have done so much more," video producer Frankie Carter said.

Carter said he and Basham never finished their music plan but said the rapper, known as “Zayski” Basham, had a big following on Instagram.

"He was just really cool, you know motive, he was just happy, just happy, you know what I mean," Carter said.The LMPD Traffic Unit is investigating and Public Integrity is shadowing the case. Basham's uncle said the family may contact an attorney to get more information.

This was another drunk (DUI) related crash.  Most such crashes occur in the early a.m. hours like this one.   


A Louisville woman said she tried to pull her brother from a crash before his car exploded into flames, killing two teens on Herr Lane near Westport Village over the weekend.

Glennisha Swift said she was in a car right behind them.

"As soon as he passed the light by my mom's house, the two police immediately got behind him, turned on their lights and were chasing him," Swift said.

Glennisha's mother, Amie Thompson, lost her son, 19-year-old Isaiah Basham. She joined other family members at a makeshift memorial at the crash site Monday.

"I just never thought I'd be going past one of those landmarks and see my son at the landmark," Thompson said through tears.

Pictures, cards and candles now sit under the blackened tree with charred leaves.

"That's my baby. We were inseparable," Thompson said. "That was my man. He didn't deserve that."

The coroner has not released the identity of the passenger, a teenage girl. Thompson said it was Basham's girlfriend.

Around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, LMPD officers said they first spotted a vehicle driving erratically near Ballard High School about a mile-and-a-half from the crash site.

Officers said they were a long distance away when the teens' vehicle lost control, flipped over, hit a tree and caught fire. They said they were not pursuing the vehicle when it lost control. Swift said she tried to rescue the teens from the car. Police said they attempted to help but couldn't because of the flames.

"I tried to pull his feet out of the car. He was screaming my name, she was screaming and the car just kept blowing up," Swift said.

"Burning alive ... you just can't cope with that," Thompson said. "I'm still not gonna cope with that. Ever."

The crash is still under investigation.

This was another drunk (DUI) related crash.  Most such crashes occur in the early a.m. hours like this one.   Two more black lives wasted.

2 killed after a Lancair Evolution plane crashed and burned onto Longbow Golf Club in a near vertical descent while on an approach to Falcon Field Airport (KFFZ), Mesa, Arizona

2 people dead in plane crash on Mesa golf course

July 18, 2017

Federal investigators are trying to piece together the moments before a small plane crashed on a golf course near Falcon Field Monday evening, killing two people on board.

The single-engine plane, a Lancair Evolution, crashed onto the fairway of the 10th hole at Longbow Golf Club around 5 p.m. Planes heading west to Falcon Field often fly low over the golf course, which is located near McDowell Road between Recker and Higley roads.

According to the FAA, the pilot reported mechanical trouble and said the plane was unable to reach the airport. The plane went down about a half mile from Runway 22, said Allen Kenitzer in the agency's communications office.

Aerials from the news helicopter showed the plane was destroyed. The FAA and the NTSB are investigating.

A handful of people were on the golf course at the time, but no one was playing the 10th hole when the crash happened, according to employees of the course. No one on the ground was hurt.

Witnesses described the crash as a loud "boom." Cell phone photos show thick smoke and flames erupting from the wreckage.

There were no skid marks on the golf course. The airport remained open.

According to FlightAware, a Lancair Evolution flying from Phoenix Deer Valley Airport to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California was diverted to Falcon Field at 4:52 p.m. It was the only Lancair Evolution on FlightAware's airport arrival logs that afternoon or evening.

Falcon Field is a regional airport that pilots use to fly smaller and often older planes.

This is not the first deadly crash at Longbow Golf Club. Two people were killed in September 2004 when a small plane crashed onto the 15th fairway.
Date: 17-JUL-2017
Time: 16:52LT
Type: Lancair Evolution
Owner/operator: Registration Pending
Registration: N571JM
C/n / msn: EVO-019
Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: NW of Falcon Field Airport (KFFZ), Mesa, AZ - United States of America
Phase: Approach
Nature: Unknown
Departure airport: Phoenix-Deer Valley (KDVT)
Destination airport: Falcon Field (KFFZ)
The aircraft impacted golf course terrain in a near vertical descent while on an apparent approach attempt to Falcon Field Airport (KFFZ), Mesa, Arizona. The aircraft was consumed by the post-impact fire and the two occupants onboard were fatally injured.


CSX Transportation found 35% liable by a Georgia Jury and ordered to pay $3.9 million in damages for the death of Sarah Jones when a freight train slammed into film workers shooting a movie about singer Gregg Allman.

SAVANNAH, Ga. – A jury has found a railroad company responsible in the 2014 death of a movie worker on a Georgia railroad bridge, awarding the young woman's family $3.9 million in damages.

The verdict against CSX Transportation came Monday in a civil lawsuit the parents of Sarah Jones filed in the Feb. 20, 2014, crash. Jones was killed when a freight train slammed into film workers shooting a movie about singer Gregg Allman.

Attorneys for Jones' family argued CSX should have taken precautions to avoid the crash. They said two CSX trains that passed the movie crew before the collision should have reported the group.

CSX attorneys blamed filmmakers who were denied permission by CSX to shoot on its tracks. Film director Randall Miller served a year in jail for Jones' death.


The parents of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant who was killed during filming of a movie in Georgia in 2014, won a significant legal victory Monday when a court awarded the family $11.2 million in damages.

Jones, 27, was fatally struck by a train that crashed into a crew filming a scene on a railway for the Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider.” Several other crew members also were injured during filming of the scene on a historic trestle outside of Savannah. Authorities said producers did not have permission to film on the railway.

The accident prompted multiple state and federal investigations and galvanized the film industry, prompting calls for greater attention to safety on sets worldwide. The judgment comes at a time when set safety issues are again rattling the industry after a stuntman died during filming of the AMC television series “The Walking Dead” last week. That accident also occurred in Georgia.

Sarah Jones in an undated family photo. (Colin Duran / AP)

Attorneys for CSX, the train’s operator, had argued that they had not authorized the “Midnight Rider” filmmakers to shoot on the railway.

However, on Monday the jury found that CSX was primarily liable for the accident and should pay 35% of the total judgment.

“CSX is deeply sympathetic to the terrible loss suffered by the family of Ms. Sarah Jones, but respectfully disagrees with the conclusions reached by the jury today and will appeal,” CSX said in statement.

Jurors ruled that Jones’ parents should be given just under $2 million for pain and suffering and $9.2 million for economic losses.

“Elizabeth and I have spent the last 3 plus years wanting to understand how our daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Jones, tragically lost her life,” Richard and Elizabeth Jones said in a statement. “That search has now come to a close…. We felt that this trial was necessary in order to learn what happened that tragic day of February 20, 2014. It is only with the discovery of what could have been done differently that we might avoid another similar tragic loss of life.”

Jones’ parents agreed to a confidential settlement with the film’s producers in 2014. The film’s director, Randall Miller, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2015. Miller was sentenced to up to two years in prison and fined $20,000.

Miller was found responsible for 28% of the amount of the latest ruling. Rayonier Performance Fibers, owners of the land where the accident occurred, are responsible for 18% and the rest of the liability is divided between individual members of the film’s production company.

Sarah Jones was not found liable for the accident.

“Midnight Rider" was based on the life of Allman, a founding member of Southern rock group the Allman Brothers Band.

Allman was originally included in the civil suit against the film’s producers but was later dropped from the case.

The singer later sued the film’s producers, alleging they had lost the rights to tell his story after Jones died. Allman subsequently dropped his suit as part of an out-of-court agreement.