Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Astoria Marine cleanup plans move forward under state leadership as EPA hands site management to Oregon DEQ.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will oversee the investigation and cleanup of contaminated soil, groundwater and sediments at Astoria Marine Construction Company in Astoria, Oregon, according to an agreement signed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Oregon DEQ has also finalized a separate consent order with the company to guide the cleanup investigation and evaluation of potential cleanup actions.

“We are confident that under state oversight, the cleanup at Astoria Marine can be efficient and protective,” said Dan Opalski, EPA Region 10 Superfund Director in Seattle. “This is an arrangement everyone is glad to reach so the important work of refining our understanding of the site and identifying cleanup measures can begin.”

Oregon DEQ’s Northwest Region Administrator, Nina DeConcini added, “DEQ is pleased to be moving forward with the cleanup of the site and will continue to work with EPA, tribal governments and local citizens. Astoria Marine is an important resource to the community on many levels.”

Due to decades of shipyard activities, soil, groundwater and sediments in the Lewis and Clark River and Jeffers Slough are contaminated with petroleum, heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and organotins. The Lewis and Clark River and the Columbia River are designated as critical habitat and migratory pathways for a number of fish species. 

In March 2011, the site was proposed for inclusion on EPA’s list of the most contaminated sites in the nation, the Superfund National Priorities List. Placement on the National Priorities List would have resulted in EPA management of the cleanup. The agreement signed today defers the listing of the site and transfers management of the site to Oregon DEQ.

EPA considered public comments when deciding whether or not to list the site on the National Priorities List. Oregon DEQ will oversee investigation and cleanup of the site while meeting protective cleanup criteria. EPA will provide guidance and oversight to ensure the cleanup meets regulatory standards. 

Oregon DEQ will consult with tribal governments and a community advisory group as the investigation and cleanup work proceeds. In addition, Oregon DEQ will inform and involve the public at important stages of the site investigation and before finalizing cleanup decisions.

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