DEQ: Progress made in Precision Castparts cleanup

Civic Affairs

The Portland company has come under fire in the past for pollution of potentially toxic levels of heavy metal

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Department of Environmental Quality says it’s making some progress in cleaning up possible sources of pollution at Precision Castparts Corp.

The Portland company has come under fire in the past for pollution of potentially toxic levels of heavy metal. It built a water filtration tank system in 2016 to treat stormwater run-off from the site.

The DEQ reports the tanks are working and stormwater testing shows the water that’s being discharged into Johnson Creek is no longer contaminated.

Much of the contaminated soil on the property has been removed under the supervision of the EPA, according to the DEQ. Manmade chemicals like PCBs and other contaminants such as heavy metals had been found in soil samples collected from the site in the past.

Concrete caps have also been placed over certain locations to control potential contaminants from escaping.

“In a portion of the site, there were some impacted areas affected by PCBs — or polychlorinated biphenyl — contamination so we had some sampling done there and discovered that there were impacts,” said DEQ NW Region Cleanup and Site Assessment Manager Paul Seidel. “So that has been cleaned up in part under US-EPA oversight. There’s still more work to do there but there’s been a substantial amount of work completed in the last several years.”

Workers at Precision Castparts Corp. in Portland. (KOIN)

The DEQ says more challenges remain at the site. Tests show that sediment in Johnson Creek still has contaminants below 150 feet, according to experts.

Officials also say the groundwater below Precision Cast Parts still contains a pollution plume that extends southwest of the facility toward Milwaukie. Hydrology experts said Wednesday the pollution is not currently impacting well water.

Seidel told KOIN 6 News the next step is to study the possibilities for cleanup through a feasibility study.

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