View and Download the report here: Dishonorable Discharge. 0000010860 00000 n 0000161627 00000 n "There aren't enough fish there for people to eat, and we don't see these (contamination) levels posing a risk to the environment," Christopher Cora, EPA project manager, said in 2012. Cleanup -- which consisted of removal of more than 32,000 tons of soil and installation of a groundwater treatment system -- was completed in 2001, but a 5-year review in 2006 found that additional steps needed to be taken to protect human health. The 24-year-old swim teacher and lifeguard began diving into the Willamette with the River Huggers swim group this month. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. Roughly 2-4 feet of contaminated topsoil needs to be removed and work got underway in in July of 2016. Now, the city issues just a handful of warnings in winter and none during the peak swimming months of July and August, said Diane Dulken, spokeswoman for Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services. You can read the agency's assessment of cleanup efforts here. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. startxref It tastes a little funny, but it is river water," Johnson said. What has happened to the Willamette reflects the nature of invisible chemical pollution--some of it due to the clean, high-tech industries Portland invited in as antidotes to dirty polluters of the past. Using Visibility to Estimate Health Effects, Temporary Rule Suspensions for Wildfire Cleanup, Harmful Algal Blooms: Drinking Water Cyanotoxin Monitoring, Willamette Basin Mercury Variance Rulemaking, Water Quality Standards for Toxic Pollutants, Human Health Water Quality Standards for Toxic Pollutants, Water Quality Standards Revisions for Freshwater Ammonia, Water Quality Standards Revisions for Bacteria, Freshwater Aquatic Life Water Quality Standards for Copper, Water Quality Standards Revision for West Division Main Canal Near Hermiston, Oregon. 0000002655 00000 n The Willamette flows 187 miles, from the Cascade Mountains above Eugene to Portland--some of the most pastoral countryside in the nation. Companies were reluctant to waive the statute of limitations for paying some share of cleanup costs when not every firm was willing to make such a guarantee. endstream endobj 52 0 obj <. But Don Francis of the Sierra Club’s Portland chapter, a longtime activist on behalf of the Willamette, said Superfund cleanup could provide Oregon with the money--and the will--to get the job done. 0000003789 00000 n "It's time for our community to stop making jokes about our river and start digging in and looking to make a difference.". It is that listing, in part, that has prompted Portland officials to seek a delay in their plan to build a new sewage system that by 2011 will nearly eliminate rain-induced overflows into the river. Many of the new additions were not originally designated because of the enormous complexity of cleaning them up. Press Release Dishonorable Discharge But some environmental groups hailed the decision, saying it would push local officials to get on with the job of removing deadly contaminants from the riverbed. “If Oregon is the environmental leader in the U.S., and the environmental leader in the world is the U.S., in a lot of ways, a lot of hope for what happens in the world is the Willamette. But in a report released this week, Willamette Riverkeeper showed the amount of toxic chemicals dumped in the river had doubled from 1995 to 1997, to 4.1 million pounds. Endorsement: The Times endorses Hoffman, Anderson, Henderson and Han for LACCD. State and federal law also required Oregon’s cleaner industries to treat their chemical discharges before pumping them into the river. Judicial seats on the Superior Court may seem the most obscure ballot items, but they now loom large as building blocks in a foundation of justice. Film shot in the 1960s showed healthy fish dropped into the river flailed and died within minutes. and Terms of Use. Biologists documented growing reproductive problems in bald eagles, mink and river otter on the Willamette and the Columbia, which join a few miles downstream from Portland. The most popular species caught here are Smallmouth bass, Largemouth bass, and White sturgeon 655 catches are logged on Fishbrain. “Everybody thought the river had been recovered. I think the smell and the unclean feeling you get after swimming in the Clackamas or Willamette is largely algae - which can be fueled by phosphate and nitrogen entering the river from land. Located on around 20,000 acres near Hermiston, the Umatilla Army Depot has acted as a storage facility for munitions and chemical warfare agents since 1941. In 2011, some additional controls were put in place to control groundwater and, the following year, the first 5-year review was conducted. Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. 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The former Northwest Pipe and Casing facility in Milwaukee was first added to the EPA’s National Priorities List in 1992 after production, which ran from 1956 to 1985, left surrounding soils and groundwater contaminated with solvents, primers, coal tar, coal-tar residues, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and oils. 0000102651 00000 n Testing at sites where people are already using the river show the water is safe, she added. You can read the EPA's most recent assessment here. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy A full assessment of the site, including the most recent 5-year review, can be found here. 0000006609 00000 n The site of the Black Butte Mine, outside of Cottage Grove, is home to some nasty stuff. PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The Willamette River is contaminated with toxic chemicals and metals, and in a new study the Department of Environmental Quality said it poses a threat for human health and aquatic life. 0000012679 00000 n In 1994, the site was added to the EPA’s National Priorities List after soil and groundwater around the plant was found to contain “fluoride, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) and other hazardous substances,” according to the EPA. United States; Oregon; Willamette River; Willamette River is a stream in Oregon, United States. The Teledyne Wah Chang company is now tasked with monitoring toxins at the site and the fourth 5-year review was released in 2013. Our niche could get smaller, and that’s at a time when we expect a tripling of cargo on the West Coast,” said David Lohman, director of policy and planning for the port. This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, and provide content from third parties. %%EOF Click here to sign in with Portland River Alert Program for current advisories, Oregon Health Authority recreational and fish advisories. The site was proposed for the National Priorities List in 2011, but in September 2012, the EPA deferred the site listing and transferred site management to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, according to the state. Part of the reason that our water doesn't get that bad is the fact that it is a river and is continually sweeping out to sea - we aren't next to a lake. But the EPA does permit release of a certain level of industrial pollutants into the river. Willamette River. All rights reserved (About Us). In November 2011, Portland completed a 20-year combined sewer overflow (CSO) control program that greatly reduced untreated waste to the Willamette River. Oregon is home to a number of these sites, which can all be found on the National Priorities List, an archive of the dirtiest places in the U.S., of which there are more than 1,300. 0000004241 00000 n According to the EPA, soil at the the Astoria Marine Construction Co. site is contaminated by paint chips sandblasted off ships and by petroleum-based products. And Portland’s antiquated sewer system results in the release of an estimated 3 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the river each year. When the plant was in operation, large amounts of tar were deposited into ponds near the river, which overflowed frequently. The Willamette River begins in one of the Oregon's fertile wine producing regions before flowing north to converge with the Columbia River. Portland cleans dirty river, invites residents to take a dip. Operations at the mine ceased in the 1960s, but soil contaminated with radioactive chemicals and heavy metals remained and seeped into water and sediment. The Taylor Lumber and Treating facility in Sheridan was added to the EPA’s National Priorities list in 2001 after 30 years of production left the surrounding soil laced with creosote and other potentially carcinogenic material. M. Modest_Man Well-known member. We cleaned up the Willamette. The second 5-year review is due to be completed in May of 2017. 0 Yes, it’s safe to swim in the Willamette most times of the year. Get weekly and/or daily updates delivered to your inbox. 0000143329 00000 n We do not guarantee individual replies due to extremely high volume of correspondence. The study results, while not ruinous, send a message to homeowners to cut back on the use of chemical pollutants. Facts About the Willamette River. 0000001938 00000 n Located 3 miles north of Klamath Falls, the North Ridge Estates Superfund Site is a former military barracks laced with asbestos when the old buildings were torn down. Most of the chemicals are coming from pesticides and herbicides. Los Angeles Community College District elections: Everything you need to know. 0000001623 00000 n proposed for the National Priorities List in 2011, agency's assessment of cleanup efforts here, the EPA said in its assessment of the site, a 15,000-cubic-yard tar ball was dredged from the Willamette, the most recent of which can be read here, detailed outline of the cleanup plan can be read here, in-depth analysis that will be released to the public upon its completion, including removal of massive amounts of contaminated soils and installation of a groundwater pumping system, the University of Portland purchased the land, storage facility for munitions and chemical warfare agents, full assessment of the site can be found here. 0000161874 00000 n Yes, it’s safe to swim in the Willamette most times of the year.

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