• PRESS RELEASE: New EPA Study shows contamination at Camp Bonneville has migrated

    ************ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***************

    NEW EPA STUDY SHOWS CONTAMINATION
    AT CAMP BONNEVILLE HAS MIGRATED

    Contact: Dvija Michael Bertish, Rosemere Neighborhood Association
    360-281-4747

    Original Release: May 31, 2012
    Update: June 8, 2012

    EPA Region X (Seattle Office) has published a May 2012 Technical Data Report entitled “Camp Bonneville Expanded Site Inspection, Vancouver WA” (Technical Document Number 11-02-0010), prepared by Ecology and Environment, Inc, Seattle WA.

    This report is phase II of a study EPA is conducting on-site to determine the level and pathways of contamination at the site. This study was performed subsequent to a February 2009 petition by the Rosemere Neighborhood Association and Columbia Riverkeeper requesting the site be analyzed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to determine possible Superfund status and placement of the site on the National Priorities List. The petition was filed following a litany of cleanup management problems led by the Washington State Department of Ecology, Clark County, and former cleanup Contractor Mike Gage.

    From May 2012 EPA Site Inspection Report:

    Perchlorate contamination associated with on-site sources is migrating and has
    reached North Fork Lacamas Creek and Lacamas Creek within the site boundaries….
    Based on sample results, contamination is present at on-site sources at significant concentrations.

    The Camp Bonneville Site Inspection scored above 28.5 points in an internal EPA scoring process, the threshold required to meet Superfund requirements. Next steps include regional EPA management meetings with local and state officials to determine plans on how to address the newly identified contaminant issues, and to discuss the potential of Superfund Status.

    High levels of perchlorate (used in mortars that were fired at the site) are suspected by some scientists to be a carcinogen, and are known to cause other serious health impacts. Pregnant women and children are at higher risks for adverse health impacts from perchlorate. Exposure is known to occur from drinking water contaminated with perchlorate. Significant levels of lead, mercury, HMX/RDX explosives, volatile/semi-volatile organics, and heavy metals are also present at significant concentrations at Camp Bonneville and can become mobile with stormwater activity.

    According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry “Toxic Substances Portal” http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov:

    • Living near a waste site or a rocket manufacturing or testing facility that contains high levels of perchlorate in the soil or groundwater may expose you to higher levels.
    • Perchlorates will eventually end up in ground water.
    • High levels of perchlorates can affect the thyroid gland, which in turn can alter the function of many organs in the body. The fetus and young children can be especially susceptible. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that lead and lead compounds are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens and the EPA has determined that lead is a probable human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that inorganic lead is probably carcinogenic to humans.
    • Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems.
    • The EPA has determined that mercuric chloride and methylmercury are possible human carcinogens.
    • Studies in children have suggested that extremely high levels of manganese exposure may produce undesirable effects on brain development, including changes in behavior and decreases in the ability to learn and remember.

    Items specified in the May 2012 EPA Site Inspection Report:

    1) Perchlorate concentration trends in ground water samples have been variable despite Interim Removal Actions that have occurred. Perchlorate is a suspected carcinogen used in rocket fuel, such as in mortars fired at the site. Perchlorate levels remain in excess of state cleanup standards at various monitoring locations. HMX and RDX, additional toxic explosives are also found in the ground water at levels that exceed state standards.

    2) Ground water also shows elevated concentrations of 12 metals: barium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lithium, manganese, mercury, nickel, strontium, titanium, vanadium, zinc. Semivolatile organic compounds were also detected.

    3) Surface water runoff (stormwater) from the site to water bodies is a migration pathway, and this pathway extends downstream for 15 miles. Local fishing could be impacted.

    4) Elevated levels of perchlorate, strontium and Volatile/Semivolatile Organics have been found in sediment samples along the North Fork of Lacamas Creek.

    5) Surface water samples show elevated levels of manganese and perchlorate in Lacamas Creek.

    6) Soil samples indicate elevated levels of RDX, perchlorate, lead, Volatile/Semivolatile Organic Compounds, Nickel, and other toxics at various site Target Areas, Target Impact Areas, Artillery Positions, Firing Ranges, and Demolition/Landfill areas.

    7) A Total of 64 Target/Receptor samples were collected, including 20 ground water samples, 10 surface water samples, 33 sediment samples and one surface soil sample. The sample results show that the contamination at significant concentrations from on-site sources is migrating and has reached these targets/receptors. Targets and receptors of sample locations include wetlands.

    9) Perchlorate contamination associated with on-site sources is migrating and has reached North Fork Lacamas Creek and Lacamas Creek within the site boundaries. Perchlorate was detected at elevated concentrations in surface water from the creeks.

    10) Analytical results show that contamination continues to impact ground water.

    11) Approximately 9,627 people use ground water for drinking water purposes within the 4 mile Target Distance Limit used in this study, including the presence of 3,269 domestic wells. The nearest well is within 1/4 mile of the site.

    To view or download this Press Release please click here: RNA PRESS RELEASE: EPA Camp Bonneville Expanded Site Inspection Report May 2012

    To view complete EPA Camp Bonneville Expanded Site Inspection Report: http://www.epa.gov/region10/pdf/sites/camp_bonneville/Camp_Bonneville_Expanded_Site_Inspection_Report.pdf

    For EPA Camp Bonneville Site Summary information: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/cleanup.nsf/sites/CB

    To see Portland TV station KGW Channel 8′s story on Camp Bonneville, “Toxins found in Lacamas Creek”, go to our video page here  http://www.rosemerena.org/home/videos/

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

    Activists Resist DOD Bid To Block EPA Policy Changes During Cleanups

    In a related story, this article originally appeared in Inside EPA Weekly Report on April 20, 2012. It is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, Inside Washington Publishers. Copyright 2012. No further distribution is permitted.

    Click here to view article (pdf format): Activists Resist DOD Bid To Block EPA Policy Changes During Cleanups 4-2012

  • 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

  • Camp Bonneville Sampling and Quality Assurance Plan

    This Sampling and Quality Assurance Plan is the next stage in Rosemere Neighborhood Association’s effort to obtain Superfund status for Camp Bonneville. (Click HERE to view previous articles on RNA Superfund Petition for Camp Bonneville)

    Environmental Protection Agency contractors, Ecology and Environment, Inc., of Seattle, will collect soil samples for lab analysis from all over the site and will be installing additional monitors in wells to test groundwater contamination as well as in-stream monitoring in Lacamas Creek.

    The Sampling and Quality Assurance Plan details where sampling will occur and how it will be analyzed to determine what clean-up needs to be achieved to ensure public health and safety.  Data gathering began May 16 2011, and will take about a year before beginning a report on findings to make recommendations on superfund status.

    View the plan here (NOTE: this is a large file – please be patient! Allow a couple of minutes for it to download): Camp Bonneville_Final Sampling and Quality Assurance Plan

  • Progress on Rosemere’s Superfund Petition for Camp Bonneville WA

    From left to right: Renee Nordeen, Ecology and Environment, Inc.; Daniel Wright, geologist; Monica Tonel, USEPA Region X Office of Environmental Cleanup, Site Assessment Manager Assigned to Rosemere's Superfund Petition. Group is reviewing maps of Camp Bonneville in preparation of EPA site inspection plans and data gathering efforts, Dec 8, 2010

    Background: Camp Bonneville Superfund Petition, Submitted by Rosemere Neighborhood Association & Columbia Riverkeeper

    In February 2009, following Rosemere’s extensive involvement in what we consider a faulty clean up action plan at the Camp Bonneville military installation, Vancouver WA, Rosemere and Columbia Riverkeeper submitted a formal petition to the US Environmental Protection Agency to list the property on the National Priorities Superfund List.

    See the original Superfund petition here: http://www.rosemerena.org/home/2009/04/06/preliminary-superfund-petition-for-camp-bonneville-february-3-2009/

    The goal of the petition was to bring EPA back into the project in order to correct failing cleanup efforts, currently at a complete standstill. EPA had been a major participant in cleanup efforts more than 10 years ago, but in 2003, EPA withdrew its involvement citing a lack of cooperation from Clark County government, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the US Department of Defense that owned the contaminated property. Camp Bonneville was a former 4000 acre international military training site where munitions, including missiles, grenades, and chemical warfare were used in live drills.

    Documented groundwater contamination at the site has entered the Troutdale Aquifer System, a federally designated Sole Source Aquifer that was petitioned by Rosemere and Columbia Riverkeeper and established in 2006. The source of the contamination is a vast collection (both known and unknown) of buried military munitions and chemicals that have leached into the soil and groundwater throughout the site. Rosemere contends that the plume of toxic chemicals has been mobile for many years, and may have exited to compound, threatening Lacamas Creek and its tributaries, and Lacamas Lake which is hydrologically connected to the Columbia River. [Read More...]

  • EPA Moves Forward With Site Inspection of Camp Bonneville for Consideration to List as Superfund Site

    camp_bonneville

    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 10 Office has announced the results of its Preliminary Assessment of Camp Bonneville, the former US Military installation in Clark County, Washington.

    In a letter dated March 1, 2010, EPA informed Camp Bonneville cleanup contractors and the Washington State Department of Ecology that based on the information gathered in the Preliminary Assessment Report, “additional investigation is warranted” of the Camp Bonneville Site under CERCLA [Superfund*].

    According to the EPA’s report,

    “the objectives of a Preliminary Assessment are:

    • To determine whether the site is releasing or has the potential to release hazardous constituents into the environment;
    • Identify potential public health and/or environmental threats posed by the site;
    • Assess the need for additional investigation and/or response action at the site; and
    • Determine the potential for placement of the site on the National Priorities List (NPL).”

    The report states the Preliminary Assessment was conducted in response to a formal Preliminary Assessment Petition dated February 3, 2009, submitted by the Rosemere Neighborhood Association and Columbia Riverkeeper under Section 105(d) of CERCLA.

    EPA is directing its own contractor, Ecology and Environment, Inc., of Seattle, Washington, to arrange the followup investigations, also known as Site Inspection:

    From the EPA website:

    “The Site Inspection program identifies potential cleanup sites that have a high probability of qualifying for the National Priorities List (Superfund), and provides the data needed for Hazard Ranking System scoring and documentation. Site Inspection investigators typically collect samples to determine what hazardous substances are present at a site, and whether they are being released into the environment.

    EPA Preliminary Assessment Report of Camp Bonneville finds

    “the sources that appear most likely to contribute current or future contamination at the site are the firing target area, the Central Impact Target Area, the OB/OD area and Landfill4.”

    The firing target area is of concern because of “previous detections of heavy metals in the soil and because UXO [unexploded ordinance] has historically been present in these areas….there is still the possibility that people may wander outside of the cleared areas and encounter UXO.”  There is “confirmed presence of lead and RDX contaminated soil” in the Central Impact Target Area and “it is possible that contamination may migrate from this source through ground water or surface water runoff to Lacamas Creek….The OBD/OD area is of concern due to the presence of historic RDX and arsenic contaminated soil. Landfill 4 is of concern due to the continued presence of perchlorate in the ground water.”  Ground water sampling has found  “a perchlorate ground water plume is present at the site in the area surrounding Landfill4/Demolition Area 1.”

    The report recommends more “robust” modeling and testing of groundwater flow and transport to determine the impact on the Troutdale Sole Source Aquifer.

    You can view EPA’s Preliminary Assessment report by clicking on the following links (pdf format):

    EPA Preliminary Assessment Report – Camp Bonneville

    Tables & Maps for EPA Preliminary Assessment Report

    You can view Rosemere Neighborhood Association’s  Preliminary Assessment Petition from February 3, 2009, by clicking on the following links (pdf format):

    Preliminary Assessment Petition – Camp Bonneville

    Tables & Maps for Preliminary Assessment Petition – Camp Bonneville

    Here is a snapshot of the Summary and Conclusions, Section 4, (which can be found on Pages 79 & 80) from EPA Preliminary Assessment Report:

    epasummarypage1

    epasummarypg2

    *CERCLA is The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), amended in 1986 by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act, (SARA), commonly known as Superfund. For more information on CERCLA and Superfund designations go to the EPA website at http://epa.gov/superfund/policy/cercla.htm.

  • EPA to Perform Preliminary Superfund Assessment of Camp Bonneville

    United States Howitzers in World War II

    United States Howitzers in World War II

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed the Rosemere Neighborhood Association (RNA) today that it has determined that performing a Preliminary Assessment of Former Camp Bonneville Military Reservation is warranted.

    On February 3, 2009, RNA petitioned EPA to conduct a preliminary assessment of the known and suspected release of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants at Camp Bonneville, the former US Military installation in Clark County, Washington (just outside Vancouver).  The EPA’s decision means it will assess the Camp Bonneville site to determine whether it warrants attention under the Superfund Program.

    Click here to read EPA’s letter EPA Petition for Preliminary Assessment at Former Camp Bonneville

  • 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...]

  • RNA Receives letter of support for Camp Bonneville Superfund Petition – February 9, 2009

    camp_bonneville

    The Rosemere Neighborhood Association has received a letter of support for our Camp Bonneville Superfund Petition from Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (Wisconsin). CSWAB was organized in 1990 when rural families near Wisconsin’s 7,400-acre Badger Army Ammunition Plant learned that private drinking water wells were polluted with high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

    Read entire CSWAB letter of support here (adobe pdf format)

  • Preliminary Superfund Petition for Camp Bonneville – February 3, 2009

    This location marks the pits where fireworks were discovered. The city and county buried confiscated fireworks in these pits. The fireworks were supposedly destroyed by open burning them first, but contractors found fireworks that had not been burned.

    This location marks the pits where fireworks were discovered. The city and county buried confiscated fireworks in these pits. The fireworks were supposedly destroyed by open burning them first, but contractors found fireworks that had not been burned.

    The Rosemere Neighborhood Association has requested that the Environmental Protection Agency conduct a preliminary assessment of the known and suspected release of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants at Camp Bonneville, the former US Military installation in Clark County, Washington (just outside Vancouver).

    Read entire Preliminary Camp Bonneville Superfund Petition here (adobe pdf format.)

  • Work at Camp Bonneville to remove contamination – September 20, 2004

    Landfill Four is coated in plastic to prevent erosion and movement of the pollution from rain. The yellow posts in the background mark a test well that is used to monitor ammonium perchlorate levels in the groundwater.

    Landfill Four is coated in plastic to prevent erosion and movement of the pollution from rain. The yellow posts in the background mark a test well that is used to monitor ammonium perchlorate levels in the groundwater.

    Camp Bonneville is a decommissioned military installation in Clark County. The US Army used this forested area for target practice, including the firing of missiles. The camp was also used as a munitions landfill. These buried munitions have caused a toxic underground plume of ammonium perchlorate to develop.

    [Read More...]

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