If the EPA has its way, Potlatch Corp. pulp mill in Lewiston, Idaho, will cool its wastewater and reduce toxic compounds flowing into the Snake River (HCN, 12/06/99). A lawsuit filed by several Idaho environmental groups prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to release a draft of a more stringent water pollution permit. It says Potlatch must drop the temperature of its wastewater to 68 degrees, down from the 92 degrees currently permitted during the summer, and reduce by 64 percent its discharge of toxic compounds produced by the chlorine bleaching process. Final issuance of the more restrictive permit depends on review by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They will determine the effects of Potlatch's pollution on salmon, steelhead and bull trout - all listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.


Comments on the Potlatch permit plan are due by Feb. 15. To take a look at the draft permit, visit the EPA's Region 10 Web site at www.epa.gov/r10earth. Send comments to Carla Fisher, EPA Region 10, 1200 6th Ave. OW-130, Seattle, WA 98101.


* Robyn Morrison