Since 1985, Oregon Radiation Protection Services (RPS) has collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) RADNET program to monitor air, precipitation and drinking water samples in Portland. Air samples are collected twice a week, precipitation is collected once a month and drinking water is collected quarterly. These samples are analyzed locally by RPS staff before shipping to EPA in Montgomery, Alabama.
After the 2011 Japan tsunami and earthquake, Oregon Public Health (OPH) and RPS started actively monitoring ocean water and drinking water from three locations along the Oregon Coast. These locations are representative of the northern, central and southern coastal areas. This coastal environmental monitoring was suspended in September 2011 because there were no findings above naturally occurring background radiation levels.
In light of the potential landfall of Japan tsunami marine debris along the Oregon Coast, OPH and RPS began enhanced sampling activity in April 2012. RPS is collecting and analyzing ocean water, drinking water and beach sand from the same three locations as previously monitored. Monitoring will take place dependent upon the levels of the Japan tsunami marine debris that arrive on the Oregon Coast. It is highly unlikely that Japan tsunami marine debris will present a radiation public health risk.