EPA reaches agreement for Portland Harbor Superfund Site

The U.S. EPA has finalized an agreement with 12 parties to develop detailed cleanup plans for the Swan Island Basin, completing a major milestone in the cleanup of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.

According to EPA, this latest cleanup agreement represents nearly 25 percent of the site’s total cleanup area, and along with earlier agreements, brings 100 percent of the site’s areas requiring active cleanup into the remedial design phase of the Superfund cleanup process.

EPA and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are working with partners, including six tribes, stakeholders and 36 responsible parties to implement the 2017 Record of Decision to clean up the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, an approximately 10-mile stretch of the Lower Willamette River, in Portland, Oregon where approximately 370 acres of contaminated sediment are slated for active remediation to reduce health risks to people, fish, and wildlife.

“This agreement along with earlier settlements, shows a strong commitment to moving the cleanup of Portland Harbor forward,” said EPA Region 10 Acting Regional Administrator, Michelle Pirzadeh.

“The engineering design work now underway will lead to the active cleanup work, which will greatly improve the health of the river, reduce risks to people and the environment, and set the stage for the revitalization of the Lower Willamette River.”

This most recent settlement agreement, called an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent, requires the Responsible Parties to conduct “remedial design” work to develop a detailed cleanup implementation plan consistent with EPA’s 2017 Record of Decision.

The signatories to the agreement include performing parties: Daimler Trucks North America LLC, Vigor Industrial LLC, Cascade General Inc., Shipyard Commerce Center LLC; and settling parties: Maritime Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, General Services Administration, Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Department of Defense (Department of the Navy, Army Corps of Engineers), State of Oregon (Department of State Lands), City of Portland, and Port of Portland.

The Swan Island Basin project area is among the major “hot spot” cleanup areas within the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, with high levels of contamination.

Developing a detailed cleanup design for the 117-acre, mile-long area, is expected to take approximately four years, after which active cleanup will begin. The process will include a pre-design sampling investigation and report to understand the current extent of contamination and help determine the most effective cleanup technologies, consistent with the 2017 Record of Decision.

Photo: EPA