• EPA Testing Results at Camp Bonneville Show Contaminated Plume Growing & Moving

    EPA has released the initial results of its testing at Camp Bonneville, the former US Military installation in Clark County, Washington.

    EPA is conducting assessment of the known and suspected release of hazardous substances at Camp Bonneville to determine whether it warrants listing under the Superfund Program following a petition from Rosemere Neighborhood Association (RNA).

    The first round of samples was collected last May (2011) and EPA’s report on that testing can be found http://www.epa.gov/region10/pdf/sites/camp_bonneville/bonneville-p1-sample-results.pdf.

    The second round of data was collected in August (2011) and that report is expected in January 2012. Following the secondary reports, EPA will score the site to determine Superfund status upon which a final report will be released.

    RNA brought the Superfund petition in 2009 citing faulty clean-up efforts at the site where live munition drills and chemical warfare had been conducted for decades. RNA contended in its petition that contamination from buried military munitions and chemicals, including the continued rise of measured perchlorate and RDX, has leached into the soil and groundwater at the site. RNA was also concerned that the plume of toxic chemicals had become mobile threatening Lacamas Creek. Lacamas Creek feeds into Lacamas Lake and ultimately into the Columbia River.

    EPA’s latest data reveal – as suspected by RNA – that the plume has traveled and has become larger, possibly entering the creek flow or infiltrating below the creek to the opposite shore. Although RNA had raised these concerns to the Washington State Department of Ecology for years, Ecology officials had maintained that topography would prevent any additional test wells from being established. Based on RNA’s petition and subsequent discussions regarding hydrologic flow, EPA successfully installed additional testing wells in suspect areas that proved the plume had moved.

    The danger to surrounding groundwater and surface water would have gone undiscovered had it not been for the Superfund petition brought by RNA. Following the incomplete clean-up led by Mike Gage and BCCRT, property ownership of Camp Bonneville was to go back to Clark County over a month ago, but the transfer of ownership has been stalled due to a dispute that Gage has with the Washington State Department of Revenue. All other contractors who worked on the initial phases of clean-up at the site have paid their taxes, but Mike Gage has thus far refused to pay his taxes. Apparently clean-up will be stalled until Gage’s tax dispute is resolved.

    Around $28 million has been spent on the Bonneville clean-up thus far including extensive efforts to alleviate the contaminated goundwater plume. The groundwater contamination was initially caused by munitions that had been buried in landfills. The landfills were evacuated but during that process the backhoes began to sink and they were not able to remove all of the contaminated soil. As a result, much of the contaminated soil was left behind and the remaining holes were filled with porous, loamy soil that was extremely permeable and allowed the plume to become mobile.

    EPA Camp Bonneville page can be found here: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/cleanup.nsf/sites/CB

    Direct link to the Camp Bonneville Phase 1 Sample Results Report is here: http://www.epa.gov/region10/pdf/sites/camp_bonneville/bonneville-p1-sample-results.pdf

    UPDATE:

    Responding to the EPA test results announcement, Clark County Department of Public Works Project Manager, Jerry Barnett, said, “The county will meet with Ecology and the EPA to determine the significance of these results. Findings include perchlorate in sediments and subsurface water adjacent to Lacamas Creek at concentrations below cleanup levels.”

    However, while EPA might agree to discuss site assessment as a process, it is premature to be discussing the “significance” of the data. As explained above, EPA management will not conduct its complete review of the data until next year after all phases of testing have been completed.

    The Washington Department of Ecology also announced Thursday that it is opening a period of public review and comment on an updated legal agreement for the cleanup of Camp Bonneville. Under the proposed Amended Prospective Purchaser Consent Decree between Clark County and Ecology, Clark County will take the lead role in the cleanup of Camp Bonneville. Ecology will accept comments on the proposal from Oct. 14 through Nov. 17, 2011.

    For more information go to Ecology’s website here: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2011/277.html

    For the amended decree, click here: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=11670

    You can send comments to Ecology on the draft documents from Oct. 14 through Nov. 17.

    Here’s how you can submit comments:

    By US Mail:
    Ben Forson, Site Manager
    Washington Department of Ecology
    Toxics Cleanup Program
    P.O. Box 47600
    Olympia, WA 98504-7600.

    By Email to:
    bfor461@ecy.wa.gov

  • Rosemere Neighborhood Association & Columbia Riverkeeper Submit Letter to Ecology RE: Alcoa/Evergreen Aluminum Smelter Supplemental Cleanup Action Plan

    Alcoa Power Plant, Vancouver, WA

    Rosemere Neighborhood Association and Columbia Riverkeeper have for years raised serious concerns about Washington Department of Ecology’s cleanup and oversight at the former Alcoa/Evergreen Aluminum Smelter. One of the major concerns is Ecology’s delay of the cleanup process by separating the East Landfill groundwater contamination decision from other cleanup actions.

    As part of the public comment process on the Alcoa/Evergreen Vancouver Aluminum Smelter Supplemental Cleanup Action Plan and Consent Decree Amendment for the East Landfill, Rosemere and Columbia Riverkeeper submitted a letter urging Ecology to take additional steps to address the contaminants at the site to ensure the protection of human health, salmon, and other aquatic, terrestrial, and avian life in and around the Columbia River.

    To view the letter, please click on this link:
    http://www.rosemerena.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Alcoa-Vancouver-East-Landfill-12-6-10.pdf

  • Alexandra Cousteau — Expedition Blue Planet 2010

    Alexandra Cousteau

    Alexandra Cousteau onstage at the Bagdad Theatre for Expedition Blue Planet 2010

    July 21, 2010, Bagdad Theatre, Portland Oregon

    Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau, continues her family legacy with another journey, a 138-day interactive tour of the US, Canada and Mexico, to explore critical water issues. Accompanied by a production crew who film, broadcast, blog, and edit on a biodiesel bus, Ms. Cousteau will travel more than 14,500 miles to film water problems and host community watershed programs. The tour includes coverage of the dwindling Colorado River, the Gulf Coast plagued by the BP Oil Spill, the Great Lakes that are experiencing hot temperatures and low levels, Chesapeake Bay suffering from stormwater pollution and sewage, and the Tennessee Valley where coal ash and mountaintop removal mining poison the water.

    On Day 20 of the tour that started in Washington DC, the crew appeared at the Bagdad Theatre in Portland after traveling from Vancouver BC. The Portland stop was sponsored by Willamette Riverkeeper, where Ms. Cousteau discussed the project, showed film footage, and fielded questions from the audience. The Blue Legacy project was started in 2008 by Ms. Cousteau as a dedication to her grandfather’s famous call, “You have to go and see.”

    Biodiesel bus used by the tour, parked outside the Bagdad theatre. The bus was formerly owned by Sir Paul McCartney

    Biodiesel bus used by the tour, parked outside the Bagdad theatre. The bus was formerly owned by Sir Paul McCartney

    Last year, Blue Legacy traveled 100 days across five continents to study global water problems, discovering similar themes among various cultures: water is a source of spirituality, conflict, and the basis of agribusiness. From the Ganges in India, the plains of Botswana, the Jordan River in Israel and Palestine, and the Cajun lands of the lower Mississippi River, a universal statement recorded from people of all these cultures shows how humanity has common ties, regardless of age, status, or religion: “Water is life.” [Read More...]

  • Toxics at Vancouver Lake

    vancouverlakewatershedlogo

    Thursday, October 22, marked the 5 year anniversary of the Vancouver Lake Watershed Partnership, created to address longstanding problems that prevent the lake from being swimmable and fishable, including toxic blue green algae.

    Patty Boydon, Port of Vancouver Environmental Director, gave a presentation on the installation of an air stripping facility installed to remediate toxic groundwater plumes produced by Cadet/Swan Manufacturing. Groundwater plumes that have expanded into the Fruit Valley Neighborhood were caused by the use of industrial chemical solvents. The shallow groundwater plumes were first discovered in 1998 during road construction, marking the largest groundwater cleanup in Washington State. [Read More...]

  • Press Release: Sixty Day Notice of Intent to file a Citizens’ Lawsuit Against Clark County

    Stormwater outfall during dry weather conditions

    Stormwater outfall during dry weather conditions

    PRESS RELEASE****PRESS RELEASE****PRESS RELEASE

    Today Rosemere Neighborhood Association delivered a Sixty Day Notice of Intent to file a Citizens’ Lawsuit against Clark County, Washington, under the Clean Water Act.  A copy of the Sixty Day Notice is attached to this press release.  Rosemere Neighborhood Association is represented by attorneys Theda Braddock, of Steilacoom, Washington, and Paul E. Brain of Smith, Alling, Lane, PS, of Tacoma, Washington. [Read More...]

  • Rosemere Neighborhood Association Honored with Public Health Community Award

    healthawardcertificateOn April 22, 2009, Clark County’s Board of Health (also known as the Clark County Commissioners) presented community awards to various organizations and individuals that have worked toward improving public health and safety.  RNA was awarded a certificate of honorable mention as a “Community organization advocating for health promotion, disease prevention, and social justice through water quality advocacy and monitoring and improving neighborhood livability.” A total of ten community awards were given, including medical and dental caregivers, and health educators.

    Click here to view the 2008 Public Health Community Award recipients and RNA’s  Health Award Certificate in full view (pdf format). [Read More...]

  • Raw Sewage Discharged to Burnt Bridge Creek for Years – April 11, 2009

    ADDED 5/11/09:  This story makes headlines across the country!  High Country News reports it here: “Heard around the West: Deja Poo”

    *************

    fishandwildlifebldg

    On April 8, City inspections of a local stormdrain system that borders Rosemere found a dangerous cross connection with sewage lines. The problem was identified using specialized remote cameras in the stormdrain system.   Unfortunately, the cross connection occurs at the Southwest Regional Office of the Washington State Department of Ecology.  This means that raw sewage from a large and heavily staffed state office dedicated to environmental protection has literally been discharging to Burnt Bridge Creek for at least a dozen years.

    [Read More...]

  • State Studies Water Quality Failures on Burnt Bridge Creek – March 11, 2009

    burntbridgecreektmdlmap

    On March 11, 2009, The Washington State Department of Ecology convened the technical advisory committee for the Total Maximum Daily Load study currently underway for Burnt Bridge Creek. This creek begins as a spring in East Vancouver, and flows 13 miles westward into Vancouver Lake. Monitoring stations have been established at various locations along the stream path. The study includes tributaries — Cold Creek, Petersen Channel and Burton Channel. Burnt Bridge Creek suffers from failures of various water quality standards, and the purpose of this study is to determine how to remedy the problems and improve water quality. [Read More...]

  • Data Gathered for Vancouver Lake Superfund Assessment – March 4, 2009

    Contractors for the EPA's Supefund Technical Assessment and Response Team gathering sediment samples 3/4/09 at a wetland location near Vancouver Lake.

    Contractors for the EPA's Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team gathering sediment samples 3/4/09 at a wetland location near Vancouver Lake.

    In August, 2007, RNA and Columbia Riverkeeper submitted a formal Citizen Petition for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a Preliminary Assessment to consider Vancouver Lake a superfund site due to contamination from substances like PCBs. The Citizen’s Petition scored sufficiently for EPA to to move to the next step, which is a site inspection study. Contractors for the EPA arrived in Vancouver to gather around 30 sediment samples that will be shpped out of state for analysis at federally contracted laboratories. [Read More...]

  • Clams and Crayfish Used to Study Waterborne Contaminants – January 6, 2009

    Asian clams collected at Frenchman's Bar, Vancouver

    Asian clams collected at Frenchman's Bar, Vancouver

    Recent water quality monitoring efforts in the Columbia River have relied upon the analysis of clam tissue to determine the levels of dangerous toxins that have been absorbed by aquatic organisms. In Vancouver, high levels of PCBs, a cancer-causing agent, have been identified in clam tissues taken from samples in front of Alcoa at the Port of Vancouver, and downstream toward the mouth of the flushing channel to Vancouver Lake. [Read More...]

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