Owners Push for Low-Cost Portland Harbor Superfund Cleanup
By: Brenda Stokes
on Friday, March 30, 2012
There's been an effort to clean up the Portland Harbor Superfund site for years. However, the owners of the location are pushing hard to move forward with a new idea that will leave pollution and sediment at the river bottom but will lower environmental and health risks while costing considerably less than some of the more costly alternatives.
The Superfund site extends along 11 miles of the Willamette River. The clean up cost has been estimated to range from around $200 million all the way up to $1.7 billion. The large cost variance depends on how much of the pollution is to be removed from the sediment and how much it will need to be dredged up. Other options including capping and treating on location, which are cheaper.
The likeliest choice made by the EPA will be a combination of these tactics. Even so, the latest study that proposes cost-cutting strategies is over 15,000 pages long and is three years overdue. Created by the Lower Willamette Group, this study proposes strategies that will cost between $169 and $398 million that would only take two to three years to complete.
All ten strategies included in the study cost less than the original ideas and clean up just as much or very near as much pollution. Still, it is unclear what the EPA will approve and what plan will move forward at this point.