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highfly

Brookie
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Reply with quote  #1 
https://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-md-luke-mill-closing-20190430-story.html


Sorry for the folks that will have to find new employment but this is a win for the trouts and everybody downstream :)




Edit:
I realized my first post was glib and uncaring and failed to convey my empathy for the displaced workers that can only be earned by having stood in their shoes. I’m just so dam excited to spend time in the keyser area without the pulp mill filth that permeates everything.

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WVUPSC

Largemouth Bass
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Reply with quote  #2 
This is terrible news for Keyser, Westernport, Piedmont and other small communities over there. I grew up in Keyser in the 60’s-80’s and Luke Mill employed most of my friends fathers. Those were the type of good manufacturing jobs that our country seems to keep losing. Granted the NB Potomac was polluted. But that has improved over the years. But most of all, I feel terrible for all of those families losing their income and all of the secondary impacts to the supporting businesses and the communities.
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2kanzam

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Reply with quote  #3 
Yeah, likely a huge positive impact for the fishery... and a huge negative economic impact for the area...
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Eddy

Bullhead Catfish
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Reply with quote  #4 
Article says the were called Westvaco until 2015. As in the same Westvaco that has the "Westvaco Trout Adventure" signs in Laurel Creek of Cherry?
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dcasto128

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Reply with quote  #5 
600 people lost jobs, not sure thats worth celebrating
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rsagebrush

Flathead Catfish
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Reply with quote  #6 
Why would anyone celebrate this?  Fishing was great when they were in operation in 2005 downstream from the plant.
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Robb

Brookie
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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsagebrush
Why would anyone celebrate this?  Fishing was great when they were in operation in 2005 downstream from the plant.


I've witnessed this as well.  Just downstream of the main plant is a "processing unit" for what I believe is the waster water.  A pipe is run out into the middle of the river where this brown liquid spews up into the stream.  I first saw this and was disgusted.  The guide with us one day explained while somewhat unsightly, it was actually advantageous to the river because it adds biomass to the river.  His comments were very quickly validated as I caught probably one of the nicest fish (fat rainbow) of the day out of said brown liquid.  Hard to believe but it did not appear to have any effect on the fish.  I've fished it further downstream in the Pinto - Cumberland area and had 80+ fish days.  Won't miss the smell from it but sorry to hear of the job loss in the area.

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highfly

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Reply with quote  #8 


I once lost a decent job because the company I worked for went under.

I would gladly go through it again if it meant a massive improvement to every other aspect of living in that area.

No more brown spew into the river (it was messing up the amd blue hue lol) and no more godawful pulp mill smell. Seems like a big win for the area in total.

Then there was the severance check, available retraining money and a whole bunch of paid time off to get my bearings and find the greatest job ever.


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StauntonSteve

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddy
Article says the were called Westvaco until 2015. As in the same Westvaco that has the "Westvaco Trout Adventure" signs in Laurel Creek of Cherry?


The Luke MD, mill and the Covington, VA mill were both Westvaco and it's predecessor companies operations. Cass and it's whole related operation supplied both mills.

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DancesWithTrout

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StauntonSteve


The Luke MD, mill and the Covington, VA mill were both Westvaco and it's predecessor companies operations. Cass and it's whole related operation supplied both mills.




So, does this mean Cass railroad operations will suffer?

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ZAK

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Reply with quote  #11 
Terrible news for the people and communities in the area, like DCasto said very hard to celebrate people losing their jobs. These areas were not exactly thriving to begin with, the Maryland side of the river was a little more "active" and seemed to have a "normal" feel to it while the West Virginia side (Piedmont) was like a ghost town. Leaving my car parked in Piedmont always leave me a little in-secure but to my knowledge I never had any issues. Crazy to think that mill has been operational for over a 100 years. Make no argument - Luke, Westernport and Piedmont will die completely out over time; think Northfork, Vivian and Keystone.

    However for anyone who has never seen the North Branch of the Potomac in this area I can't stress what kind of impact this is going to have in the long run. The mill is in Luke but majority of their river contamination happens in Westernport behind the water/sewage treatment facility. Above the pipes is typical North Branch "dead water" (very few bugs), but as soon as you venture below the pipes it is like a bug factory. The sewage and pulp mill waste give the river a nutrient boost and the bugs flourish - so do the fish. But as soon as the summer temps hit and the warmer water temps of the Branch hit the fish have an uphill battle every year to survive. The pipes or as they call it the "mixing zone" release effluent that will sometime run upwards around 100 degrees and it is up to the clean water to balance out the temps. Sadly many years they experience fish kills when Jennings Randolph lake doesn't get the needed rainfall to keep the water cold enough at the dam's release. The last couple years have been really bad, the clean water seems to be running warmer and coming earlier every year in my opinion. I still can't fathom why dams can't run lower flows at night to save water during the warmer months - quite honestly it pisses me off. The Yough in PA is the same way.  

    I have already reached out to Maryland officials via email to get the push started to alter or remove the dam behind the plant. If they at least make it passable for the fish, it will have monumental impacts on their ability to spawn and find colder water (ie the Lower Savage's outflow) - if they completely remove the dam the Savage's outflow will help cool down the rest of the river for a little ways as well as get rid of some silt built up. I am so appreciative of Maryland's fishery department they always take the time to respond to my emails, even if it is just a thank you or a run around - I can't say the same for WV's, I never get a response. Literally within hours I get a response; two weeks ago a fisherman sent me some pics of some not-so-good-stuff in the water near the plant and within an hour of my email Alan Klotz sent the information to the Maryland MDE and it was at least reported. They were caught off guard with the plant's shutdown, it will be a while until changes can be made. The MDE will have a lot of work figuring out how to "clean out" the plant properly; paper mills are bad hombre's. It will be so weird to fish the Branch and not have that smell of rotten eggs in my nose and pure brown water running through my legs. Don't worry though George's Creek is still an AMD nightmare, it enter about 1/4 a mile upstream of the pipes, that creek has ruined a trip or two. 

     The only downfall with the plant closing from a selfish view is that one of my "fishing spots" is going to possibly blow up - and I'm 100% okay with it as long as the habitat improves. Outside of guides and people who float it not many can wade it. Once the water starts to clean up and not run turd brown, more and more will start fishing it. (Good luck knowing when certain flows open up certain sections though [wink] - maybe I'll sell my flow chart?) I am worried that without the effluent waste that the river could turn into what the clean water turned into - doormat. Those of us who were on this board before Photobucket sold its soul know what the river produced before they took out the holding pens near the dam; once they removed the pens the nutrient boost was removed and all the monster fish vanished. I do hope the treatment facility still continues to release marginal waste into the water; I know that sounds crazy but that is what is going to produce the best habitat for fish. I am a trout guy, most know that, but you smallmouth guys with rafts are going to be in HEAVEN after June 30th; put in near Keyser and you may have a new favorite river. 

Some links with pics and information - this is why the plant needs to go.

https://www.bayjournal.com/article/anglers_activists_say_md_turning_blind_eye_to_paper_mill


https://www.times-news.com/news/paper-mill-will-pay-fine-for-polluting-north-branch-potomac/article_86f5f37c-0d5f-11e6-a68f-bb17b62d1f8b.html

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curmudgeon

Brown Trout
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Reply with quote  #12 

It sucks for the job loss of course, however any industrial complex that old even with up grades is doomed.  Companies are in business to maximize profits for the shareholders not to keep people employed.  You can make more money with newer more efficient facilities especially those overseas with much cheaper labor cost.  It’s crazy but most plants are designed only for a 20 to 30-year-old lifetime.

If you worked there you should have known this and been prepared for it.  Sadly, I bet most were not.

The town will have to make some major adjustments to survive.  It appears the paper plant provided both drinking water and sewage treatment to the town.  Those are expensive systems to take over or build new.

If the dam can be removed then the river will do just fine, and find a new equilibrium.  

And the air will certainly smell much better.

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BookTrout

Chub
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Reply with quote  #13 
The appalling water pollution legacy of the Luke paper mill will live on past our lifetimes in the silt at the bottom of the river. Sadly, every new flood event will reintroduce it into the aquatic food chain.
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ZAK

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Tiger Trout
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Reply with quote  #14 
I don’t necessarily agree with that. It isn’t like mine runoff. High water events will eventually cleanse the stream bed (similar to the Westfork River in my area); Once the factory is flushed it won’t take long to see the river purify itself. More damage has been done to the river via mining contamination through the tribs then the paper mill. Aquatic Life is much better below the pipes than above - and I’m talking from the mill clear up to above the lake in the headwaters.
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highfly

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZAK
I don’t necessarily agree with that. It isn’t like mine runoff. High water events will eventually cleanse the stream bed (similar to the Westfork River in my area); Once the factory is flushed it won’t take long to see the river purify itself. More damage has been done to the river via mining contamination through the tribs then the paper mill. Aquatic Life is much better below the pipes than above - and I’m talking from the mill clear up to above the lake in the headwaters.

Wonder if they’d ever reinstate some trout pens below the dam

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BookTrout

Chub
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Reply with quote  #16 
Zak,
What you say is true with respect to the common nutrient pollutants like Nitrogen and Phosphorus compounds, but the Luke mill has a long history of using Chlorine as a bleaching agent.  As I understand it, the byproduct, Chlorinated organic compounds, were flushed through the treatment system and into the river and accumulate in the silt.  Many of these compounds are both extremely harmful and persistent in the environment. Then there's the legacy of the mercury and other heavy metals resulting from the tons of coal which were burned to power the plant and delivered to our water by air pollution.  These pollutants may have little effect on our sport fishery, but they are contributors to the "advisory" on eating fish from the River.
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ZAK

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Tiger Trout
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Reply with quote  #17 
Even more of a reason to practice catch and release.
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Cheatriver8730

Nanner Trout
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Reply with quote  #18 
Wondered if anyone had floated the North Branch since the plant closed?  Curious if the water quality has changed from the always turbid/stained look it had before to a more normal mountain river clarity and if the fishing seems to have been affected?
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2kanzam

Musky
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Reply with quote  #19 
I talked to a few guys who's local water is the NB... they said turbidity was down and it seemed to be running a little cooler than it would with current conditions... Of course this is an opinion based on a very small window of time...but these guys know what they are talking about
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Cheatriver8730

Nanner Trout
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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2kanzam
I talked to a few guys who's local water is the NB... they said turbidity was down and it seemed to be running a little cooler than it would with current conditions... Of course this is an opinion based on a very small window of time...but these guys know what they are talking about


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