EPA Criticizes Clean-Up Study for Portland Harbor Superfund Site

Jan 24, 2013

The EPA announced it will redo parts of a study exploring ways to clean-up the Portland Harbor Superfund site. An initial draft prepared by groups that will pay for the cleanup was biased, the agency says. Amelia Templeton of EarthFix explains.

The Portland Harbor is one of the largest remaining Superfund sites in the Northwest. The City of Portland and at least a dozen companies will help pay for the clean-up. They’ve spent about 100 million dollars so far on a study of the options.

The EPA says the study failed to identify hot spots of toxic waste. It overstated the benefits of burying pollutants in the Willamette River under a new layer of sediment. And it minimized the benefits of dredging.

Barbara Smith is a spokeswoman for the groups involved in the clean-up. She says the report was 15,000 pages long, and the EPA found much of it sound.

Smith: “I think it’s unfair to characterize the scientific work we’ve done as biased. I would say all of the alternatives create sort of a menu of options “and they all include dredging.”

The EPA says it will finish its own independent analysis and hopes to have a cleanup plan for the Portland Harbor to present to the public next year.

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