PHCAG River Mile 11 East Preferred Alternatives Report (PAR),
EPA Test Sampling July 12, 2023
CAG Board Members
Michael Pouncil, Chair
Also in Attendance:
Anna Hamilton, Triangle Associates
Asyssa Bonini, BES Lv (Co-Host)
Connor Lamb (Co-Host)
Dayna Hubenthal & Scott Burr (Co-Hosts)
Tonight we met in collaboration with Willamette River Advocacy Group (WRAG). This month we met at “BES Water Pollution Lab” at 6543 N Burlington Avenue Portland, OR 97203. Our discussion was about River mile 11 East (RM11E). DOF (Dalton, Olmsted, and Fuglevand) has been working with public and private stakeholders to evaluate and clean up this stretch of the Willamette River on east side. DOF has been supporting the RM11E Group and will continue to provide technical and facilitation throughout the design. Also, EPA is doing sample testing at Green Anchor.
PAR = Preferred Alternative Report
Laura Knudson, EPA
Introduced Hunter Young, Remedial Project Manager for River Mile 11.
EPA Point of Contact: Hunter Young, EPA Project Manager (email@example.com), 503-326-5020)
Hunter Young: A report has been submitted to EPA, and is currently under review, challenges in designing a cleanup at the River Mile 11 project area and the proposed preferred path forward. This is not about labor, hiring, contracting, land zoning, habitat restoration or restoration.
They have communicated with the community (WRAG) and will review comments and provide a future presentation to show: what comments were passed along to the River Mile 11 East Group.
Presentation, Paul Fuglevand, PE Senior Principal Engineer for DOF (Dalton, Olmsted, and Fuglevand).
Paul has over 40 years of nationwide consulting experience at several of the country’s largest Superfund sites. For the past 20 years, Paul has served as technical director, project manager, and project coordinator for work set forth in EPA Agreed Orders at various Superfund sites. He is a nationally recognized expert in the characterization of sediments and the design of remedial actions for cleanup of contaminated sediments. Contact information link can be found here…
And if you wish to know more about WRAG, https://wragpdx.wordpress.com/contact
River Mile 11 East information: Draft Preferred Alternative Report
(PSBA – Project-Specific Biological Assessment)
- Albina Terminal includes a cement terminal – it is necessary to keep it going to allow for construction projects to continue.
- PacifiCorp Submarine Cable Crossing – a challenge for the site cleanup. Will replace the cable crossing.
- Outfall OF43 Crane Tramway – vibrations from the cleanup could adversely affect the tramway.
- Cargill Grain Terminal – ships grain all along the pacific rim, ships need clear passage.
What are ramifications to habitat and fish? Biological Assessment for Portland Harbor – Remediation Dredging Methods – reduce overall fish exposure to contamination.
- No capping, all dredging. 85000 cubic yards removed.
- Glacier NW Main Dock – remove main dock before dredging, rebuild main dock after dredging.
- Cargill Main Dock – suspend operations for 4 months for dredging.
- Estimated 3 Construction Seasons – shorten from 4 to 3 seasons through a focused extension of the in-water work window
Concurrence with EPA
- Proceed with 60% design upon EPA approval of the preferred alternative
- Consistency with ROD (Record of Decision); Cleanup technologies; Workdays 24/7; Project-specific biological assessment
- 3-year process through 2026 pending final EPA approval of the PAR
- Predominant contamination at the site is PCB’s. The deepest and highest concentrations are at the Glacier Dock. How to design an operation that’s compatible with an operating dock?
- Capping is not feasible on over-steep slopes, so dredging is necessary. Tear the dock out, dredge and rebuild the dock with work windows that protect migrating salmon.
As we do more studies, this process will get tweaked.
Summary: Remedial design work is ongoing. The Phase I PDI Evaluation Report has been completed and they are working on a Preferred Alternatives Report (PAR).
Working Parties: City of Portland, PacifiCorp, Cargill, Inc., CBS Corporation, DIL Trust, Glacier Northwest, Inc.
Informal Public Feedback Opportunity: Review conceptual design in 2023 for River Mile 11 East area (estimated date).
Q: Pilings are a problem for the entire length of the superfund site. Will you just get rid of those pilings?
A: They stabilize the slope. Don’t want slope failure. Remedy is to go down to mudline, cut them off and drive them below the level of contamination and dredge. It’s a unique problem for River Mile 11.
Q: Wouldn’t it save money in the long run to remove as many pilings as possible to not have to engineer a plan to work around them?
A: We looked at this. More cost effective to work around them, leave in place and work around them with the intention of digging all the sediment out.
Q: Tribes and community want a robust habitat in Portland Harbor integrated into the design. Habitat-stabilized slopes. How will you be accountable to this strong interest?
…On top of Cassie’s… it sounds like one concern for not setting back the banks is the loss of upland property. Are there other barriers to creating natural or artificial habitat?
A: Hunter with EPA: We are performing the work outlined in EPA’s Record of Decision. Going beyond that ROD isn’t in their responsibility. That’s under NRDA (Natural Resource Damage Assessment), underseen by Natural Resources Trusrtee Council.
Q: Are the pilings themselves contaminated with creosote or other chemicals?
A: Most were built before creosote. Mostly natural timber. We see replacement piling occasionally but if they’re deep under water they’re in good condition, not a lot of creosote at the site.
Q: Paul mentioned using habitat rock. Could he describe that?
A: Rounded gravel, based on guidelines. Once we dredge, we put a residual cover layer over it with rounded gravel.
Q: What establishes the work window? Water levels? Migration patterns?
A: Initially established for the patterns of fish. Gathered data on when fish are present in order to modify work windows.
Q: We’ve had a problem with habitat in other places. I understand that the two have to go hand in hand. If we don’t work at the same time we get further down the road and we trip ourselves up for working with NRDA. The NRDA decisions were made a long time ago, before we had these conversations. I now feel the the NRDA decision is not in accord with how habitat should be restored. We need to step back, review the NRDA agreement. You, as an engineer need to work in conjunction with the NRDA decision.
A: Hunter: Resource Council is not part of EPA. Not involved in those decisions.
Q: What are impacts on surrounding neighborhoods? Overlook neighborhood has air problems from that part of the river – dredging stirs up a lot of stuff.
A: Laura Knudson: we ran an Environmental Justice Screen (EJ Screen). The one-mile buffer did have higher environment indices for particulate matter. We are looking at this now for when construction actually begins. https://www.epa.gov/ejscreen
This is the area between the Broadway Bridge and the railyard.
Q: When the state dredged the GasCo site downtown they seemed to get good results to reduce turbidity. Did you consider this?
A: There are trade-offs. That was shallow water, this is deep water. We have specific removal approaches with limited turbidity release.
Q: Given the higher diesel in the EJSCREEN. What might the impact of dredge disposal be for the 85,000 CY of sediment and additional truckloads. Has EPA or RM11E used the EPA Greener Cleanup principles? https://www.epa.gov/greenercleanups/epa-principles-greener-cleanups
A: The Greener Principles use less fuel. Our project is based on loading into rail cars. Using rail service is more cost-effective.
Q: You’ve got one of the biggest cement loading docks in the NW, are they efficient enough at off-loading that there isn’t a lot of cement left?
A: We’ll be monitoring to watch for spikes and then control.
Q: How does the contaminant get to the rail service?
A: Barge to a transfer facility then to rail cars for transport. Landfills on the Columbia River and several smaller – all are designated by the ROD.
Q: Where will OF 43 be relocated to and will that affect the capacity or storm shed where water flows from and into it?
A: Outfall will move about 50 feet away. Won’t affect capacity of storm water in that area.
Q: We learned recently how many designs of sediment sites do not really factor in the scale of exponential increasing climate impacts on methodologies that ultimately end up in a greater cost of having to redo remedies. What is RM11 doing to be innovative to be proactive?
A: We’re going to dig it all. There won’t be anything to expose.
Hunter: We have a design guide that requires looking at future climate change scenarios.
Q: During dredging how will you know if PCBs are introduced into the water? Is that the relationship with turbidity, and if so, what is that relationship?
A: Dredge test. Take the sediment, churn it up, look at what is released. We’re not seeing exceedance of water quality criteria. PCB’s don’t like to be in water, they tend to stay in sediment.
Q: How do you build a barrier wall without disturbing sediment?
A: Our geo-technical engineers have done this a lot – drill a boring, set in a steel piling every 8 feet. Then set timbers in between those pilings and then you dig it out.
Q: Is RM 11 open to monitoring PCB levels in the air by adding samplers on dredging equipment?
A: EPA has interest in air-monitoring, we’ll be working with EPA to do necessary monitoring.
Q: I understand the turbidity test. Do dioxins react the same way?
A: Yes, they’re all of the same nature as PSB’s in water.
Q: Where will this slide presentation be made available?
A: We will make this available soon on EPA website.
EPA’s River Mile 11 East document page: https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/SiteProfiles/index.cfm?fuseaction=second.scs&id=1002155&doc=Y&colid=39802®ion=10&type=SC
I hope the contaminants are not going to St Helens.
I want to compliment Paul for your strong considerations for options. The one weak point could become a problem with monitoring contaminations. If you can make that engagement happen, that would be phenomenal.
Very good presentation. The Glacier Dock area goes into the Mississippi area quickly.
Contact: Michael Pouncil at 503.705.7224, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our mailing address is:
Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group
8316 N. Lombard St., PMB #344
Portland, OR 97203
Notes taken by Jane Terzis