Waste Management ordered to pay $8,400 after inspectors find 380 cubic yards of waste uncovered on platform

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has fined the owner of the Newberg transfer station for improperly storing garbage outside last year.

DEQ officials observed, according to findings presented to the Environmental Quality Commission, "large piles of waste on the pavement outside the covered transfer station building" in November 2021 at Waste Management's facility on Wynooski Street in southeast Newberg. The report estimates that about 380 cubic yards of waste had accumulated and was open to the elements, which could have resulted in toxic leachate making its way via stormwater catch basins into nearby Hess Creek and, eventually, the Willamette River.

"You were also cited, without penalty, for failing to control litter at the facility and failing to immediately clean up a spill of used oil," the findings said.

The infraction, which earned the company an $8,400 fine, was a violation of Waste Management's solid waste disposal site permit, as well as state law.

"DEQ issued this penalty because minimizing and properly managing leachate is an important requirement of the" facility's permit, the DEQ wrote in its findings. "Leachate may contain contaminants or pathogens, which if allowed to escape could contaminate stormwater, ground water or surface waters and pose a risk to public health."

Waste Management had the option to appeal the DEQ decision within 20 days of receiving the penalty notice in July. The company did not file a request for a hearing by the deadline in August.

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