The mission of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is to
be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of
Oregon's air, water and land. Learn more about DEQ's activities and how
we measure success through our
DEQ is made up of more than 700 employees statewide dedicated to
working cooperatively with all Oregonians for a healthy, sustainable
environment. Check out some of our recent accomplishments below to learn
how DEQ is working for you.
Accomplishments in 2007-09
Major Accomplishments in 2005-2007
Improving Oregon's Air Quality
Gas reporting rules were adopted in 2008 and scheduled for
expansion in 2009 to include more emission sources. Reported
data will enable DEQ to track Oregon’s progress towards
meeting our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. DEQ is
providing guidance and training to help companies submit
their initial reports in early 2010.
- In 2008, Portland area employees reduced over 3 million
drive-alone commute trips by using transit, carpooling,
biking and walking as part of DEQ's
Employee Commute Options program. This action prevented
134 tons of smog-forming pollution from getting into the
Portland region’s air.
DEQ tested 1,136,687 vehicles in the cities of Portland
and Medford reducing car and truck emissions by over 170
tons per day. DEQ is creating additional solutions to
reduce transportation-related emissions. Solutions
include reducing aerodynamic drag in medium- and heavy- duty
vehicles, tire efficiency standards, and idling reduction
requirements for trucks and ships.
- DEQ established new fine particulate monitoring stations
in McMinnville, Madras and Prineville. In each of these
communities fine particulate pollution is a concern and
action may be needed to reduce levels to remain in
compliance with federal health standards.
- The agency established a new ozone monitoring station in
Bend and continued monitoring for ozone in Hermiston. These
were the first ozone monitors on the east side of the
Cascades. The new and lower national ozone health standard
has increased our interest in this pollutant.
New regulations will reduce open field burning in the
Willamette Valley from the current 65,000-acre limit to the
35,000-acre limit in 2009. Then starting in 2010 and
thereafter, open field burning will be limited to certain
grass species grown on steep terrain at the 15,000-acre
limit and a 2,000-acre allowance for emergencies.
Oregon has a significant number of older high polluting
woodstoves. In 2009, DEQ obtained new authority to
remove these legacy stoves and set new standards for
traditionally exempt woods burning devices. As a key
strategy in protecting human health from the effects of fine
particulate and air toxic pollution found in smoke, DEQ now
requires the removal and destruction of uncertified
woodstoves when a home sells.
DEQ adopted the Oregon Regional Haze Plan, a
comprehensive 3-year evaluation of regional haze in Oregon.
The most significant action in the plan is to reduce
haze-causing pollutants from the PGE Boardman plant to
significantly reduce haze in Oregon and Washington, and
protect cultural and natural resources in the Columbia River
Gorge National Scenic Area.
Improving Oregon's Water Quality
agency implemented rules clarifying the requirements for the
treatment and use of
recycled water. The rules are intended to encourage the
use of recycled water for beneficial purposes and to reduce
the demand on drinking water sources for uses not requiring
- DEQ developed a significant number of Clean Water Plans
and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) approved by EPA,
including plans for the Rogue, Molalla-Pudding, Miles
Creeks, Tenmile, and Bear Creek watersheds. These plans
serve as blueprints for communities to reduce water
pollution such as bacteria, high temperature, nutrients,
sedimentation and chlorinated pesticides.
- DEQ staff worked with 78 public water systems and
communities on special projects, monitoring, land use
planning issues, grant awards, public workshops, pollution
prevention, and providing GIS mapping assistance.
The agency issued over $90 million in low-interest loans
Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help 33 public
agencies and communities construct or upgrade facilities to
manage wastewater or implement other water quality
The Eugene Water and Electric Board has reached a $100
million settlement agreement with DEQ and 17 other parties
that calls for construction of fish ladders at the Trail
Bridge and Carmen Diversion developments and habitat
enhancement measures at Smith dam. The agreement also calls
for increased minimum flows and additional water quality
assessment of the Willamette Basin examining the
correlation of land use to water quality. DEQ found that 20
percent of streams are impaired in forest areas, 80 percent
in both agricultural and urban areas.
Five watersheds throughout the state implemented
Pesticide Stewardship Partnerships to improve water quality
associated with pesticide use. This approach uses local
expertise in combination with water quality sampling and
toxicology expertise provided by DEQ. Partnerships have been
established in Hood River, Walla Walla, Pudding/, Clackamas,
and Yamhill River Watersheds. Significant improvements have
been observed in some streams in the last three years. For
example, the average concentrations of the insecticides
Chlorpyrifos at multiple stream monitoring locations in the
Walla Walla watershed decreased by 80% or more between 2006
Reducing Toxic Pollution
on Pacific Northwest’s success in reducing the amount of
benzene in gasoline, Oregon adopted requirements to prevent
benzene leaks from gasoline dispensing facilities. These
requirements are more protective of human health than
national requirements. Each year, Oregon’s new standards for
gasoline dispensing facilities will reduce an estimated 26
tons of benzene and 1,480 tons of volatile organic
- As part of its agency-wide toxics reduction strategy,
DEQ developed a list of 118 “priority persistent pollutants”
that pose a potential threat to the state’s environment and
residents. This list will help the state identify sources of
pollutants and develop ways to reduce their amounts in
Oregon waters. DEQ will detail its findings on pollutant
sources and reduction opportunities in a report due to the
Oregon Legislature on June 1, 2010.
- DEQ has embarked on an Oregon Toxics Monitoring Program.
While the program will assess toxic pollutants statewide,
the agency is focusing initially on identifying the
distribution and magnitude of these pollutants in the
Willamette River Basin. DEQ recently completed its first
year of monitoring work throughout the basin, and has
published its findings in a report. It is refining its basin
monitoring work based on first-year results and should
complete its second year of work in 2010. DEQ plans to
expand this effort in future years to other watersheds
throughout the state, on a rotating basis.
DEQ helped secure grant funds from EPA to help eight
communities statewide establish permanent household
hazardous waste collection facilities and co-sponsored two
agriculture pesticide collection events in the Pudding River
watershed (in 2006 and 2007) where a total of over 34,000
pounds of "legacy pesticides" (long-banned farm chemicals)
Oregon E-Cycles, the statewide electronics recycling
program financed by electronic manufacturers and jointly
implemented by DEQ, collected 9.54 million pounds of
electronics in its first six months of operation. More than
half the electronics collected (56%) at more than 200
collection sites around the state were TVs. Monitors were
33% of collections, and computers 11%.
A total of 130 contaminated properties were cleaned up
statewide through investigation and remediation by DEQ's
Environmental Cleanup programs.
In the summer of 2009, DEQ began the
Portland Air Toxics
Solutions project. Broad partnerships and a diverse advisory
committee of community leaders will ensure a holistic,
comprehensive and scientific evaluation of risks from all
area sources. The project will develop and implement
Oregon’s first geographic-based air toxics reduction plan.
DEQ will use the finalized plan to focus DEQ’s emission
reduction efforts in the Portland area.
Working with DEQ on the Black Butte Mine site, EPA
removed contaminated soil from the site in 2007. Additional
cleanup work is still needed. Black Butte Mine will be
proposed for Superfund Listing in the fall of 2009. As part
of the Governor’s commitment to clean up the Willamette
River, he endorsed the Superfund listing for the former mine
in 2009. Attaining Superfund Listing will be instrumental in
prioritizing federal action on this multi-million dollar
DEQ required Oregon’s plywood and composite wood
products companies to comply as quickly as possible with new
national standards to reduce toxic air pollution. DEQ
established the compliance schedules in response to a
last-minute federal court decision that toughened the
national standards. The new standards will reduce air toxics
emissions in Oregon by an estimated 500 tons per year.