EPA concludes hazardous waste cleanups in Oregon after September wildfires
Agency’s work was first step of a two step recovery process for burned-out properties
This past weekend the Environmental Protection Agency concluded its removal of household hazardous waste from burned-out properties in eight Oregon counties affected by the September wildfires.
EPA began its clean-up activities on October 17 in Jackson County and quickly expanded operations to the seven other counties: Clackamas, Douglas, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion. The agency eventually identified and removed approximately 300,000 pounds of hazardous waste from 2,285 properties.
Among the items rendered safe or removed from properties were thousands of propane tanks, ammunition, oil, gasoline, solvents, paints, pesticides, and bulk asbestos. Removing these items helps ensure the safety of workers who are slated to begin removing ash and fire debris as part of the second step in cleanup.
To protect water quality and sensitive fish and wildlife habitat, EPA also conducted bank stabilization, erosion control, and fire debris removal work on 226 riverfront properties along seven vulnerable rivers: Bear Creek (Jackson County), Little North Fork Santiam and North Fork Santiam River (Marion & Linn counties), Salmon River and Panther Creek (Lincoln County), McKenzie River (Lane County), and North Umpqua River (Douglas County).
“Over 250 EPA staff and contractors from around the country contributed to this effort to help Oregonians begin the rebuilding process,” said Randy Nattis, EPA’s Incident Commander. “We’re grateful to our county, state, and federal partners for helping us complete our work. The people of Oregon are in very caring and capable hands.”
The state of Oregon is now beginning the larger task of clearing ash and debris, and will also remove hazardous waste from assistance-eligible properties not cleared by EPA.
Visit EPA’s Oregon wildfires cleanup StoryMap to see photos and videos of some of EPA’s work, as well as maps of the areas where EPA conducted household hazardous waste removal and streambank stabilization and cleanup.
- Property owner hotline: The EPA hotline for property owners -- after fielding hundreds of calls from Oregonians -- will be forwarded to the state’s hotline: 503-934-1700.
- Property owners can also send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
- State of Oregon wildfire cleanup and debris removal: Wildfire.oregon.gov