DEQ to Investigate Willamette River Sediment in Downtown Portland

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News Release For release: May 12, 2008 Contacts:
Marcia Danab, Communications & Outreach, Portland, 503-229-6488
Keith Johnson, Cleanup Program Manager, Portland, 503-229-6431

DEQ to Investigate Willamette River Sediment in Downtown Portland
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced today a partnership with the City of Portland and several other partners, including Portland General Electric, the ZRZ Realty Co. (Zidell), PacifiCorp, and TriMet, to investigate Willamette River sediment in downtown Portland. Sediment sampling at 81 locations will take place in May and June to assess contaminants in the river sediments between Steel Bridge and Willamette Park.
     The investigation will assess the nature and extent of hazardous substances in river sediments resulting from past and current riverfront industrial activities and stormwater outfall discharges.
     Samples will be analyzed this summer and a report of the findings will be available this fall.  Based on the findings of the report, DEQ will recommend the next steps to manage contamination found in river sediment and any uncontrolled sources to the river.
      “A study like this has never been undertaken in this area. All the partners recognize that this is an excellent opportunity to increase our understanding of this part of the river,” said DEQ Cleanup Program Manager Keith Johnson.   This study is separate and distinct from the ongoing remedial investigation of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, which is being conducted in the Willamette River north of downtown. However, the sampling and analysis plan for this study is based on EPA-approved sampling and analytical procedures for characterizing Portland Harbor sediments utilized by the Lower Willamette Group, a coalition of Portland Harbor businesses and public agencies who voluntarily stepped forward to participate in the investigation.  Using this guide will yield consistent data between the two distinct projects.   For more information please contact DEQ Cleanup Program Manager Keith Johnson at 503-229-6431.
     Additional information about DEQ environmental cleanup projects in the Portland area is available at the DEQ web site

Sediment Sampling Fact sheet: