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The cleanups will likely involve dredging to remove the most contaminated soil from the bottom of the river and covering less contaminated areas with clean soil.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Portland Harbor Superfund Site is a 10 mile stretch of the Willamette River in Portland.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering two companies to do their part in the Portland Harbor Superfund Site cleanup.

On Thursday, the agency sent two enforcement orders to Schnitzer Steel and Evraz Inc., two companies that once had steel mills in Portland that dumped hazardous waste into the river, according to the EPA orders.

The two companies petitioned the EPA earlier this month to update and scale back its cleanup plans for nearly 11 miles of Portland's Willamette River. The agency is now ordering them to submit individual cleanup commitments for their portions of the Superfund site.

The orders are each more than a hundred pages long, detailing the kind of cleanup work and financial obligations that will be required for each company. The agency gave the companies 10 days to respond, noting that it will make accommodations for any deadlines the companies can't meet because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The highly contaminated Superfund site stretches from the Broadway Bridge to the Columbia Slough. More than a hundred parties share responsibility for the cleanup. Dozens of them have already signed agreements with the EPA to do their share of the work.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can find their complete story here.


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