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Council to consider suing Monsanto over PCB pollution in Superfund area


TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE  - Many of the properties to be cleaned up can be seen along the Willamette River in this view looking south from the St. Johns Bridge.

The City Council will consider suing the Monsanto Company over PCB pollution in the Willamette River and Columbia Slough next Wednesday.

The potential suit will be discussed as the U.S Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release its Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup plan. The city is potentially liable for some if not much of the cost because the EPA has declared it contributed to the pollution.

The resolution prepared by the City Attorney's Office says Monsanto is the only company that produced PCBs, formally known as polychlorinated biphenyls. PCBs are man-made toxic chemicals that are a known carcinogen, and were banned in the United States in 1979, but they remain in the environment for an extended period of time.

The resolution can be read here.

According to the resolution, PCBs have been found in sediments in the Superfund area, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is requiring the city to increase its efforts to identify the sources and reduce the discharges of PCBs into the city stormwater drainage system.

The city is currently conducting an online survey of how Portlanders feel it should respond to the plan. A Portland Tribune story on the survey can be read at portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/296738-174026-city-wants-to-gauge-public-views-on-superfund-cleanup-priorities-