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Oregon's DEQ holds a public update on efforts by Precision Castparts to meet current guidelines

DAVID F. ASHTON - Answering questions from neighbors at the Woodstock meeting were, seated from left: Oregon DEQ Project Manager Heidi Nelson; Portland BES Permit Manager for Storm Water Joshua Ernst; US EPA Region 10 Senior Policy Analyst Dave Bartus; and US EPA Region 10 Environmental Engineer Margaret Olson.  The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) held an update meeting for neighbors on September 18, regarding ongoing and upcoming environmental actions at Precision Castparts Structuals (PCCS) on S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard. These relate to soil and water clean-up efforts. The meeting was held in Woodstock's Lewis Elementary School Cafetorium.

"We're not here because we have a regulatory action to take; but instead, we want to provide to the community an update about soil and water and clean-up activities that we've been doing," said ODEQ Northwest Region A administrator Nina DeConini.

"We're not addressing air-quality issues – including monitoring results, renewal of the ACDP permit, and the status of the facility in the Cleaner Air Oregon program – those will be discussed at a future meeting," DeConini told THE BEE before the meeting got underway. "This evening's meeting is to present information from staff with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), regarding the contamination that we found, and making sure that it's been cleaned up."

Some 35 people arrived for the briefing and talked with Bureau representatives before the meeting began. And, ODEQ Northwest Region Clean-up Program Section Manager Paul Seidel told THE BEE, there is "good news" about the clean-up. "The good news is that there has been a lot of progress over the last several years in significantly improving conditions on the site, in terms of soil clean-ups and stormwater treatment – and understanding site conditions, as well."

The plans have been in place for several years, he explained. "Those 'Work Plans' have been reviewed, and are being implemented; so, while there's still more work to do, substantial progress has been made over the last several years."

Asked if this Precision Castparts campus could be considered an ecologically good neighbor now, Seidel replied, "Well, we can say that there has not been water contamination leaving the site since 2016, when the stormwater treatment system was installed.

"There is cleanup continuing on-site, while air quality program is doing their work separately," commented Seidel. "I think we can see it's good news for neighbors, because the site is getting cleaner over time."

During the meeting, attendees learned how the storm water treatment system keeps pollutants from flowing into Johnson Creek.

Presenters said that ODEQ has been working to understand what contamination exists in the soil, how much, and where it is located and that their effort is almost complete. Since polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found during this process, the US Environmental Protection Agency is involved in the cleanup through their Toxic Substances Control Act program.

Next steps in the process include:

· Complete investigation through focused sampling of soil and stormwater system catch basins

· Continuation of on-site and off-site sampling to assess movement of pollutants in groundwater

· Conduct off-site evaluation groundwater west of PCC

Also, in the future, officials plan to hold meetings regarding permit renewals for PCC, and also reviews by Cleaner Air Oregon.


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