Willamette Cove evaluation report by DEQ

In March 2023 a study of the Willamette Cove cleanup was conducted.  This study was the next step in the cleanup process and its goal was to learn more about how the contamination was spread across that site, most importantly how deep contamination went. That information will help shape the cleanup designs.

Aerial image of Willamette Cove, Portland, Oregon. Photo from Metro
Aerial image of Willamette Cove. Photo from Metro.gov.

Since the study was submitted to DEQ last March, Metro, the Port of Portland and DEQ have been analyzing the study to understand how it will affect the cleanup. The real heart of the story is these paragraphs:

Cory Eldridge of Metro explains: ‘What did the study find?

  • No new human health hot spots (very dangerous levels of contamination) were found.
  • It confirmed that contamination is spread across the site.
  • It also confirmed the types of contaminants at the site.
  • In general, the amount of contamination decreased with depth, as expected.
  • However, in most locations, contaminants went down to at least three feet deep, which is as deep as samples were taken.

The cleanup requirements in DEQ’s record of decision anticipated removing soil to a depth of about two feet in some areas, and much less than that, in most areas. The record of decision expected up to approximately 42,000 cubic yards of soil would be excavated and hauled away. The new study estimates that if the same cleanup requirements were extended to remove soil down to three feet in the impacted areas, 76,000 cubic yards of soil would need to be excavated.

The new study also concludes that most trees would need to be removed with the contaminated soil. The record of decision had proposed alternative excavation techniques to save native trees that with existing cleanup requirements would not be possible.’

The full report: wcRemDesignRep2023D.pdf (oregon.gov)

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