Featured News, Siskiyou

Klamath Dam Removal Project Creates Super-Fund Site?

  • “17 point 82”
    updated information:

In California, hexavalent chromium in drinking water is currently regulated under the
total chromium state MCL of 50 parts per billion (ppb). A maximum contaminant level
(MCL) is the highest concentration of chemicals permitted in drinking water systems.
The total chromium MCL was established in 1977 and regulates both the less-toxic
trivalent form and the hexavalent form. California is the only state to have set its own
total chromium MCL; other states use the total chromium federal MCL of 100 ppb to
regulate chromium. The proposed MCL would regulate hexavalent chromium
separately. source: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/documents/chromium6/Cr6-MCL-FAQ.pdf

If we have a concentration of 0.891 mg/l, we can convert this to ppb using the formula:
ppb = 0.891 * 1000 = 891 ppb

So, 0.891 mg/l is equivalent to 891 ppb.

Now, let’s take it a step further. If we want to express 891 ppb in terms of a different unit, such as per 50 ppb, we can divide 891 by 50:
891 ppb / 50 = 17.82

Therefore, 891 ppb is equivalent to 17.82 times the MCL

when the Table was created I believe a decimal point was missing.
Lab results show chromium level at 178-times the maximum EPA limit!

Some supporters of natural resource conservation are fooled and are mesmerized by idealism and the smoke and mirrors of companies like the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), who are arguably engaged in a business model that monetizes what some people term as reckless environmentalism.  I call these people ‘idealists’ in the context of this article.

The impacts of dam removal projects extend into both environmental areas and socio-economics, especially when applied to disadvantaged communities such as those living on and around lakes being drained.

Unfortunately and arguably, KRRC does not live up to it’s name in any sense. Why? Because they allowed greed to prioritize profits over the genuine natural resource conservation and renewal of the wild and scenic Klamath River.

Numerous credentialed scientists over the past had warned, even at the risk of losing their jobs, that the sediments in the bottoms of Iron Gate and Copco lakes were not the same as the sediments found behind other dams, and contained toxins. And if allowed to enter the main-stem of the Klamath River, would cause catastrophic damage to the entire river ecosystem, well beyond just killing the fish.

Now we are seeing and experiencing the truth of their sage wisdom, which was ignored and sequestered to favor unbridled greed.

Shades of Erin Brockovich? Hinkley groundwater contamination – Wikipedia


Chromium in the Klamath River tested at 178-times above the maximum EPA limit after the release of the sediments from Iron Gate and Copco Lakes. Scientists warned this was a possibility!

The idealists supporting KRRC and the removal of the Klamath River dams don’t live here, but they want to run Siskiyou County and control the fate of an entire river ecosystem without proper care and consideration of all the science, some of which has been unscrupulously sequestered with whistle-blower scientists being fired, arguably for telling a truth that jams the gears of profiteers. 

These idealists think like checkers players and fail to realize what’s coming in the next 10-moves on the environmental chess board. Most have no training or education in science and little understanding of corporate business and PR strategies, and have zero empirical experience. Yet vainly attempt to decipher things beyond their comprehension, and instead, simply march to the beat of people and some corporations who are ruining the planet in the name of ‘environmentalism’. It’s very possible that KRRC and it’s team of contractors are planning a large-scale $-Billion business model based upon dam removals, so the Klamath Dam project is their resume for any such future projects and results.

These idealists are their own worst enemies, assuming they’re actually interested in sustainable natural resource management. I seriously doubt they truly understand the intricate complexities and nuances of an ecosystem as complex as that of the wild and scenic Klamath River.

Please see the attached PDF of the laboratory anaylysis of the Klamath River water after the polluted clay sediments from Iron Gate and Copco Lakes were ignorantly released into the main-stem of the Klamath River.

Boiling water does not mitigate chromium that is now arguably permeating into wells close to the Klamath River.

click the arrows for the 8 page report… ⤵️


The toxicity of chromium at a concentration of 0.891 mg/L can have serious health effects. Chromium is considered a heavy metal and is toxic to humans even at very low concentrations. It is classified as a non-essential heavy metal and can cause various health hazards, including carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, and teratogenesis, among others[1]. Long-term exposure to chromium at this concentration may lead to serious health issues, including the risk of cancer[5]. Therefore, it is important to remove chromium from water before drinking, as it can be harmful to human health.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8695248/
[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2468227621000053
[3] https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp33.pdf
[4] https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/bay_delta/deltaflow/docs/exhibits/sac_rcsd/srcsd_exh1x.pdf
[5] https://www.academia.edu/8252358/Physico-Chemical_And_Heavy_Metal_Analysis_Of_River_Olosun_Ibadan_Oyo_State



  1. Why are there no before levels given in this story? If the argument is one of causation or direct correlation I would think showing measurements taken just before release at same location side by side would be more effective. Have previous dam releases had before and after water quality measurements taken? Where are these heavy metal concentrations coming from? Besides the blue green algae, sounds like everyone was unknowingly recreating in these toxic lakes for years. Why weren’t the lakes a super fund site? Did these scientists you mention comment as part of the required environmental reviews? How were those concerns addressed? I get it though – another opportunity to slam people who have different views than yourself.

    • Testing before the release of the pollutant laden sediments? That’s a question for your master at KRRC.

      That said, anyone of the hundred or so people living on the Klamath River can tell you, that the aquatic ecosystem was healthy prior to the release of polluted sediments.. And anyone with even basic education in High-School chemistry and a little real world experience knows that if the toxin levels in the Klamath River were even half of what the certified lab test just showed on Jan. 28th 2024, the River would have shown signs of genetically impacted and otherwise sick animals, including and especially the eagles and ospreys who feed on fish and are the proverbial (canary in the coal mine) indicators of toxic metals! And finally, if toxins existed in the Klamath River prior to the relevant release of polluted sediments, at even at half the levels of the many toxins registered, there would be numerous cancer clusters in humans all the way down the river.

  2. This is common knowledge among farmers and many high school graduates. It has to do with soil particle sizes and a cations charge, which is a positive charge, and its ability to hold onto negatively charged particles. One tablespoon of clay has the surface area of two football fields. The arsenic for instance can have a 3+ or 5+ charge. Which means it can really bond. All fine particles make their way to the ocean, unless stopped in a settling pond or lake. These elements are naturally in the soil. Here is how they get around all this. Everyone knows it there. So, to start the government doesn’t set standard for heavy metal, they set recommendations from an international organization. This takes the liability away. Then the government doesn’t set lab standards to test. There are probably over 2500 different agents that can be used when testing phosphorus alone. When push comes to shove, they can instill an atmosphere of doubt in the courts. California medicinal cannabis has been self-regulating for over 20 years and studying heavy metal management. It is truly frightening what has been found. They are now incorporating these management principles into food production. Little while back the FDA relaxed the levels allowed in baby food. They got push back and changed the lead levels to look good on paper but left the rest. The lead in that pond silt will become airborne and travel for miles down wind. If a cannabis farm is located within 10 miles of that sight it will test positive for lead.

    • Apparently, Mr. King has been residing on the moon for the past 30-years and since medical science has discovery that consumption of small amounts of heavy metals (any one of all the ones listed in the lab report that are eroding and leaching out of the toxic sediments that have just initially come down the Klamath River) can and do produce life threatening illnesses. Mr. King… You come out, and have a glass of this water, on the house! What NONSENSE! Heavy metals can leach into drinking water from household plumbing and service lines, mining operations, petroleum refineries, electronics manufacturers, municipal waste disposal, cement plants, and natural mineral deposits. Heavy metals include: arsenic, antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, selenium and many more. Heavy metals can contaminate private wells through groundwater movement and surface water seepage and run-off. People that consume high levels of heavy metals risk acute and chronic toxicity, liver, kidney, and intestinal damage, anemia, and cancer. PEOPLE GET YOUR WELLS TESTS ASAP if you’re well in in the alluvium near the Klamath River.

  3. There are so many question that need to be answered for this report to have any credibility:
    Was a control sample collected and what were the baseline values?
    The laboratory report states that the analytical results are for the sample received by the laboratory. Who collected the sample and where was it collected?
    What was the sampling protocol?
    Who was responsible for qa/qc in the collection? Was there a CoC?
    What were the levels upstream of the dams?
    The lab findings have not been peer reviewed and no conclusions can be drawn at this point.

    • An environmental study doesn’t need or receive “peer review” like some JAMA paper on heart disease. However the chain of custody and lab QA/QC are typically made available.

  4. I live on the klamath river. I haven’t received any notification from anyone about possible well contamination… I’m trying to find a good well water test, and water filter.
    I have 2 small children, and am very bothered by the possibility of this.
    Thanks for providing the information.

  5. Back in the day, when something was printed in a newspaper any credible media would fact check information. We don’t do that anymore. People read things and believe what they wanna believe and no one seems to understand what the facts are. That’s how humans have been allowed to destroy natures gift to us. I don’t think repairing nature’s land. Water in the sky is going to be easy. But if people would learn to fact, check things, they read, it would be a good beginning.

  6. Bill Jenkins

    Should be titled “Self-proclaimed Feral Horse Behaviorist Makes Unsubstantiated Extrapolation Based of Single Data Point”. Apparently studying Flight Technology makes one credentialed as a Ethologist, Environmental Scientist, Ecologist, and Hydrologist. The river was very clearly not healthy with the dams in place. There’s a cost to putting the dams in and part of that was storing huge amounts of sediment with not so great things in it.

  7. Concerned scientist

    Author sounds like maybe he has been sipping that chromium Koolaid for a bit too long.

  8. Zachary Royce

    William Simpson says “we” collected this sample in his recent KMED interview, then clarifies it was not him that collected but sample, but “let’s just say some citizens” (my memory he can correct me if inaccurate). He also admits that the high levels found in his samples did not exist in any of the other samples that were taken by official project technicians, attributing this to the fact that they were located downstream. William Simpson is far from an uninterested party in this manner and I don’t trust his sample. The Neilson report has the client redacted. Why? “Science” doesn’t redact or withhold the identities of the people who conducted the experiment. Simpson has been swimming against the stream of science on whether salmon ever swum upstream of a supposed 31-foot impassable cliff hidden behind Copco 1. I don’t know why we should go rushing to any conclusions based on his unconfirmed “science”.

  9. Concerned citizen

    This is all based on bad data and really poor assessments of the situation as it stands which is the last thing this situation needs. Recklessly displaying this as fact with all the concerns, legitimate concerts is irresponsible.

  10. So William, now that this article has been thoroughly debunked…will you be issuing a retraction or correction? Or are is you little “news” blog just a medium for disseminating misinformation?

    • Avatar photo Jay A. Martin

      Hello Starr, Jay here. True a decimal was missing. and a correction was made upon discovery: https://www.siskiyou.news/2024/02/12/klamath-dam-removal-project-creates-super-fund-site/

      • The “missing decimal place” is far from the only issue with William Simpson’s story. He claims, in his “correction”, that the sample is 891 ppb and 17.82 times the California MCL of 50 ppb for Total Chromium, but the California MCL is for DRINKING WATER STANDARDS.

        He stated that the sample was taken from the Klamath River at Klamathon Bridge on 1/28/24, which was during a heavy suspended sediment event. In other words, the sample was a SURFACE WATER SAMPLE FULL OF SEDIMENT (not drinking water and not well water).

        Prior to reservoir drawdown, the sediment was tested and Chromium levels ranged from 18,000 to 48,000 ppb, which is in range for typical background concentrations of Chromium in the environment, which range up to 80,000 ppb. So when the sample was tested at the Neilson Research lab, the results were skewed upwards by the sediment in the river water.


        This “news” article is still nothing more than irresponsibly dangerous, fear-mongering misinformation!

        • You do use the Newspeak words meant to stimulate censorship, but contrary to “debunking” the article, you’ve only added the KRRC interpretation. The point of a free press is to stimulate a productive back and forth. Be forthright. For example,
          are you able to tell us where you get the numbers you use?

        • Also.
          The author clearly tells you the point of comparison is the drinking water standard. It’s a point of reference. You say it isnt applicable, but again this comes across as a device to discredit the entire concept that these sediments are contaminated and that contamination has been spread by releasing the sediments. You seem to offer a theory that the dirt in these parts is already contaminated, and that’s a fine argument to make. Evidence can be brought to bear and should be, instead of calling for censorship. The fact that you want to shut up anyone who points to problems shows you’re not acting in good faith. If you have good information, share it. That’s what science is all about. It’s the opposite of science to tell the publisher to clean the world of ideas you don’t approve.

  11. Follow the money= Hold profiteers accountable = Restore the natural Water Shed.
    Dams were put in for Private Profit.
    Chemicals were used and disposed of in public water ways… for profit.
    Sue the one who profited and fix our river and restore it to its natural condition so it can heal for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
    The situation is straightforward the only reason it is not is because of GREED.

  12. William, thank you for the work you’ve done on this issue. It’s clearly riled a few people up, so, there’s probably a lot of money at stake. A more thorough study should be done. I’m surprised that the sampling efforts done by the KRRC are so weak. It’s obvious they should have taken a contaminant profile of the reservoirs’ sediment beds before release. Is that available in the project EIR?
    Why was draw down done so rapidly? How were the sample points chosen?
    They have the money and responsibility to take samples through the whole process, and contingencies for problems that arise. Local people have to develop and fund a proper environmental study, after the dams have been breeched? A single sample isn’t a study, but it does indicate we may have an issue here. Are these levels of heavy metals natural in the area?? I’d love to see that data. Is the source the “municipal solids” the EPA encourages farmers to spread on fields? These are often enriched in a variety of toxins.

    So the source of the heavy metals is a big issue, and the recklessness of releasing sediment with heavy metals contamination is a bigger issue. How did they come to that decision?

    I’ve been in environmental work for decades. Flushing a bunch of dirty sediment down a waterway you’re *trying to restore* violates the whole point of the project.
    On the other hand, maybe restoration isn’t the actual goal.

    I’d love to see the environmental assessment of this project that shows they could proceed this way.

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