EPA Cleanup Plan to Make Portland Harbor Safer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its Proposed Plan to clean up the in-water portion of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, an industrial waterway covering approximately 10 miles of the Lower Willamette River, from Broadway Bridge to the Columbia Slough.

EPA proposes to dredge and cap the most contaminated sediment throughout the 10-mile stretch of the Lower Willamette, in areas where concentrations pose the highest risk to people, fish and wildlife.

Other, less contaminated areas, will be monitored and allowed to recover naturally.

At the end of construction, EPA estimates that cancer and other serious risks posed by contamination will be greatly reduced – in many places up to 100 times lower than it is now.

Natural recovery will further reduce these risks to levels deemed acceptable under Superfund and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) cleanup programs, but will not eliminate all risks.

Active cleanup work under the selected Alternative I is estimated to take seven years and cost approximately $750 million.

Release of the proposed cleanup plan starts a 60-day public comment period, which EPA extended from the required 30 days in response to public requests for a longer comment period.

The public is encouraged to provide formal comments on the plan to EPA by August 8, either in person at public meetings, online or in writing.

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