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EPA: Soil, Water, and Columbia River bottom near Army Corps facility are contaminated with PCBs, PAHs, heavy metals, and other contaminants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to add Bradford Island to its Superfund list of the country’s highest priority contaminated sites requiring cleanup. Bradford Island, an Island in the Columbia River, is part of the Bonneville Dam complex operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps). The Corps’ historical operations and maintenance practices at the site caused the soil, groundwater, and stormwater to be contaminated. Sediments in the Columbia River are also contaminated with PCBs and other contaminants.

“EPA looks forward to continuing work with the Corps of Engineers, Tribal Governments and the states of Oregon and Washington to accelerate the sampling, investigation, and cleanup of remaining contamination at the site,” said Michelle Pirzadeh, acting EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle.

The EPA proposes sites to the National Priorities List, and after considering public comments may designate them as final Superfund sites. If added as final, the Superfund designation would bring EPA into a more formal role of overseeing the Corps’ cleanup work. The Corps will remain the federal agency responsible for the cleanup process as the owner and operator of the site.

PCBs were widely used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications until they were banned from further production in the U.S. in 1979. They are human-made chemicals that persist in the environment and are known to affect the immune system and may cause cancer in people. PCBs can also affect learning abilities in children. Other contaminants at the site also have known health and environmental risks.

Since 1998, the Corps of Engineers has been leading the investigation and cleanup efforts at Bradford Island. The Corps has completed actions to remove electrical equipment and some contaminated sediment from the river and has also conducted several studies aimed at characterizing sources of contamination in the river and uplands portion of the site.

The EPA received requests from multiple parties to make this proposal of Bradford Island to the National Priorities List, including the Yakama Nation the states of Oregon and Washington, and community and environmental groups.

To see the Federal Register notice and supporting documents for this site on the day of publication, visit www.regulations.gov (use docket number EPA-HQ-OLEM-2021-0462).

The EPA will take public comments on the proposal of this site to the Superfund list for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register, which is expected in the next few days. Instructions for how to submit comments, will be available at: www.epa.gov/superfund/bradford-island.

For more information on the Superfund listing process, visit: www.epa.gov/superfund/about-superfund-cleanup-process#npl.

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Author: Editor
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