State official off dump cleanup

The state Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Phil Woodward will no longer supervise Chico’s plans to clean up the Humboldt Road Burn Dump. After 15 years in the project manager position—and numerous unsuccessful attempts to guide Chico toward a plan to build and cap a single, huge toxic mound—Woodward was removed last week.

Woodward didn’t return a phone call from the News & Review, but according to the water board he was promoted to a position where he’ll oversee active and abandoned mine sites. Many of the southeast Chico residents watching the burn dump issue were increasingly mistrustful of Woodward and saw him as arrogant and unwilling to consider other ways of cleaning up hazardous waste at the dump.

“Phil was less than objective about the process. I think he came into Chico knowing what he wanted done,” says Councilmember Coleen Jarvis, adding that he never seemed “open” to alternative ideas.

Woodward has been replaced by Karen Clementsen, a senior engineering geologist. The Regional Water Quality Control Board, in a letter to the city, says her "experience will allow for a smooth transition into the project manager position."