the film

Oregon Wants to Change
Johnson Lake Cleanup Plan

by Scott Learn
The Oregonian, May 1, 2009

Oregon environmental regulators are proposing to abandon a plan to partially dredge heavily contaminated Johnson Lake, instead requiring Owens-Brockway Glass Container to leave contaminated sediments in place but spread a six-inch layer of clean cover over the entire lake bed.

The 18-acre lake sits near Interstate 205's junction with the Columbia River, connecting with Whitaker Slough, which feeds into the Columbia Slough. It's contaminated with PCBs, a cancer-causing industrial insulator now banned for most uses.

The new proposal from the Department of Environmental Quality came after Owens-Brockway found thicker sediment and lower concentrations of contamination than expected in the lake's hot spots. Those results would have meant more dredging and more costs than anticipated to hit a target of reducing PCB concentrations in lake sediment by 72 percent, the agency said.

Under the old plan, Owens-Brockway, which has manufactured glass in its plant on the lake's south side since 1956, would have had to dredge 7,500 yards of contaminated sediment from two hot spots at a cost of $1.3 million. Dredging the entire lake would cost too much -- $7.2 million, DEQ said last year.

The new plan calls for spreading a six-inch layer of clean sand over the entire lake bed, with the possibility of using other materials, such as gravel and clay, over the hot spots. The estimated cost is $2.095 million.

DEQ's proposed amendment calls for testing PCB concentrations after the cap is placed, and requiring more material if the 72 percent reduction isn't achieved. It also calls for a fish tissue monitoring study five years after the cap is placed.

Public comments on the amendment are due by June 1.

Scott Learn
Oregon Wants to Change Johnson Lake Cleanup Plan
The Oregonian, May 1, 2009

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