The Portland Harbor Superfund site extends roughly from the Freemont Bridge to Sauvie Island and is located within the city of Portland (see map).
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), in cooperation with Multnomah County Health Department, is advising the public of high levels of PCBs in fish caught from Portland Harbor.
Eating resident fish from the Portland Harbor superfund site is the greatest risk to public health. To learn more, see the educational materials section below.
Investigation and Cleanup
The Superfund process has determined that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) will jointly manage the investigation and cleanup of the site. However, the EPA will be the lead agency for the in-water portion of the site and the ODEQ will be the lead agency for the upland sources of contamination. EHAP will be involved in determining the adverse human health effects and educating the community on how to reduce or prevent exposures for both in-water and upland portions of the site.
Recreational Use: Public Health Assessment
EHAP issued a report that addressed potential health risks associated with recreational use of the Portland Harbor superfund site. This report incorporated public comments that were received during the comment period. View the final Public Health Assessment (pdf).
As a result of public comment, an additional conclusion was added to the report, identifying the former GASCO site beach as a potential cancer risk for those who might recreate there. View a map of sampling locations (pdf). This is due to high levels of a class of chemicals known as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Originally, EHAP didn't consider the former GASCO beach a "recreational" beach, as it is not a desirable location for recreation, and has fencing all around it. However, a member of the public pointed out that this beach could be accessed from the water and should therefore be included as a potential recreational beach.
As more sampling is conducted within the superfund site, more data become available for EHAP to assess and issue follow-up reports on specific locations. For example, new data from the East Parcel Beach of Willamette Cove was recently brought to EHAP's attention. Willamette Cove sits within the Portland Harbor superfund site, and is an area where bird watchers, dog walkers, teenagers, college students, and transient populations frequent. DEQ asked EHAP to analyze the new data and report out on the findings.
A Health Consultation focused specifically on the East Parcel Beach at Willamette Cove was released on August 1, 2012. The report can be found here, along with a summary fact sheet (pdf). Metro is working on posting signs to warn the public of chemical contamination, as well as posting more Portland Harbor fish advisory signs (pdf).
Reporting out on Findings
- EHAP presented the findings of the Willamette Cove East Parcel Beach health consultation at the August 8th Portland Harbor CAG meeting, held at the City of Portland's Water Pollution Control Testing Lab: 6543 N. Burlington Ave, Portland, OR (map).
- EHAP presented the latest conclusions from the final version of the recreational use public health assessment, as well as information about new data received on Willamette Cove, on Wednesday September 14, 2011 from 6-8 PM. Meetings are always held at the City of Portland's Water Pollution Control Lab located at 6543 N. Burlington Ave, next to Cathedral Park under the St. John's Bridge (map). For other meeting details, visit the Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group website.
- EHAP gathered public comments on the Recreational User PHA until July 5, 2010. Comments were incorporated into the final version of the report, released September 12, 2011.
- EHAP presented the initial findings of the Recreational Use public health assessment on June 9, 2010, at the City of Portland's Water Pollution Control Lab (see above).
EHAP Reports: In-Water Activities
EHAP Reports: Upland Activities