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McCormick and Baxter Creosoting Company

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Site Description

The McCormick and Baxter Creosoting Company Superfund site was used for wood treatment from 1944 until 1991. The site, situated on the Willamette River, includes 43 acres on land and expanded to encompass 23 acres in the river. The soil and ground water is contaminated with wood-treating chemicals, including heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and pentachlorophenol, to depths of 80 feet. Soil contaminants migrated to sediments in the Willamette River, resulting in contamination of river bottom sediment. Sediments are contaminated with PAHs to depths of 35 feet. There are approximately 4,500 residents located within one-square-mile of the site.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • The site was added to EPA's National Priorities List (NPL) in 1994, and announced its cleanup plan in 1996. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) is managing the overall cleanup and directing the cleanup contractors under a cooperative agreement with EPA.
  • Since 1996, more than $27 million has been provided by EPA for sediment, soil and groundwater cleanup actions at the site, reducing risks to human health and the environment by removing left-over wood-treatment chemicals and process equipment; demolishing contaminated structures; removing 33,000 tons of contaminated soil; recovering 3,000 gallons of creosote from groundwater; installing an 18 acre subsurface barrier wall around the primary source of groundwater contamination; and capping 23 acres of contaminated sediments.
  • In 1999, the City of Portland received a Superfund Redevelopment Initiative grant to help the city determine how to reuse the site. In 2001, the city completed a Site Reuse Assessment and recommended that the site be developed into a park for a variety of recreational uses. These uses may include active recreation such as a soccer field or a passive park feature such as a wetland or forested area for wildlife. The Portland City Council adopted the report's recommendation and a park will be built once the cleanup work is complete.
  • In 2002, EPA provided $4 million to construct a sub-surface barrier wall around the site to cease Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (NAPL) contamination from leaking into the Willamette River.
  • In 2003, EPA provided $12 million to construct a cap over 23 acres of contaminated sediment to prevent exposure to humans and ecological receptors.

Current Funding Status

  • EPA has provided more than $27 million since 1996 for sediment, soil and groundwater cleanup actions at the site.
  • EPA has determined that this site does not pose an immediate threat to human health, and will continue to monitor this site for any changes that may trigger additional action.
  • Remaining cleanup work includes completing construction of a sediment cap at an estimated cost of $12 million and an upland site cap at a cost of $6 million. ODEQ and EPA completed the design of the sediment cap in 2003. Funding was provided in 2004 and construction of the sediment cap began in July 2004. The cap is scheduled for completion in November 2004.
  • The final design of the soil cap will be completed early 2005, and construction of the soil cap is expected to begin in March 2005 and be completed in the fall. Completion of the soil cap will allow EPA to transfer the site to ODEQ for long-term maintenance and monitoring.

For more information on the projects at this site, please read the McCormick and Baxter Creosoting Company Fact Sheet on the Region 10 Superfund Web site.

Key Accomplishments

  • EPA has provided more than $27 million for sediment, soil and groundwater cleanup actions at the site.
  • Removal of 33,000 tons of contaminated soil.
  • Recovery of 3,000 gallons of creosote from groundwater.
  • 23 acre sediment cap construction underway.
  • Installation of an 18 acre subsurface barrier wall.


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