Rayonier Off-Property Soil Dioxin Study


Past soil sampling has shown that dioxin levels may exceed state cleanup levels in areas near the Rayonier Port Angeles Mill property.  Ecology investigated the concentration and possible sources of dioxin pollution nearby and downwind of the Rayonier property.
This study looked at:

  • The magnitude of dioxin soil contamination in the areas identified as "downwind" of the Rayonier property.
  • The former Rayonier Mill's contribution to measured dioxin contamination, compared to other possible sources.

Dioxin Chemical  Structure Graphic

What are dioxins?

Dioxins are a family of chemicals that have similar chemical structures and biological effects. They are unintentional by-products of both human activities and natural processes. They do not break down easily in the environment, and as a result, are found everywhere. Most people are exposed to very small background levels of dioxins when they breathe air, consume food or milk, or have skin contact with dioxin contaminated soils or other materials.

Sources: Dioxins can be formed during industrial processes, such as chlorine bleaching of pulp (done at the Rayonier Mill in the past) and certain types of chemical manufacturing. Dioxins can also be formed during combustion (burning) and waste incineration. This includes home burn barrels*, fireplaces, and wood stoves.

Health effects: Exposure to small amounts of dioxins (like those found in this study) can possibly increase the risk of certain cancers in humans. Some non-cancer health effects are associated with dioxin exposure. Those effects have been found in animals and humans exposed to levels many times higher than background dioxin levels or levels found in this study. The health effects associated with low level dioxin exposure are still being studied.

*Please visit the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency for more information about the health effects of home burning and how to reduce your risk.

Public Comment Period July 14 – August 30, 2011

Ecology is holding a 45-day comment period on the report for this soil dioxin study. Please submit comments or questions to Connie Groven (contact information listed to the right).

Public Open House and Technical Workshop August 3, 2011

Port Angeles Senior and Community Center, 328 E. 7th Street, Port Angeles, 360-457-7004

  • Technical Workshop by Greg Glass, 3:00 – 5:00 pm, in the Craft Room (upstairs) – technical presentation on the details of the data evaluation, followed by question and answer.
  • Technical Workshop presentation
  • Open House, 6:30 – 8:30 pm in the Multi-purpose Room – presentation at 7:00 pm, followed by question and answer.
  • Open House presentation

Site Documents

Related Information

Additional Resources


map showing site location as Clallam County, WA


Technical workshop and open house presentations on the study results available (see below).


Port Angeles,  Clallam County

Connie Groven
Site Manager

Megan MacClellan Public Involvement Coordinator

Status: Initiating Investigation  Get definitions of Status terminology