Cleaning up Portland Harbor is not just about in-water sediments, but making sure all the sources of contamination to the river sediments are identified and controlled. This is called source control. If the sources of sediment contamination are not addressed, the river sediments could be recontaminated after cleanup.
Since 2003, Environmental Services and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have worked together to identify and control current sources of contamination to the municipal stormwater collection system, and consequently to the Willamette. The City of Portland and DEQ agreement for remedial investigation and source control describes roles and responsibilities of both Environmental Services and DEQ through an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for remedial investigation and source control.
Public or private entitites own over 400 outfalls in the study area. The city owns 30 stormwater outfalls and 9 combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls in the study area. In December 2011, the city completed a program to control all of the CSO outfalls. Now the combined sewer system overflows to the Willamette River only during extreme storm events. Click here for information about Portland’s CSO control program.
To date, DEQ has identified more than 100 upland sites that may be potential sources of contamination to Portland Harbor. Many of these sites are being addressed in the DEQ Voluntary Cleanup program. Information on these efforts is available at www.deq.state.or.us/lq/cu/nwr/PortlandHarbor.
City staff work closely with DEQ on reviewing cleanup sites that discharge to city stormwater systems. Environmental Services staff provide site-specific stormwater and plumbing information to DEQ project managers, collaborate on upland site discovery efforts, and review upland site stormwater pathway evaluations.
The city considers its source control work with DEQ to be critical in improving the health of the river. Click here for information on the city's approach to evaluating city outfalls in Portland Harbor. Click here for the latest DEQ report on our progress investigating outfalls.