Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ Home/ Land Quality/ Environmental Cleanup/ ECSI/ Site Summary Full Report

Environmental Cleanup Site Information (ECSI) Database Site Summary Full Report - Details for Site ID 927, Pacific City Disposal Site

This report shows data entered as of April 26, 2018 at 6:20:34 AM

This report contains site details, organized into the following sections: 1) Site Photos (appears only if the site has photos); 2) General Site Information; 3) Site Characteristics; 4) Substance Contamination Information; 5) Investigative, Remedial and Administrative Actions; and 6) Site Environmental Controls (i.e., institutional or engineering controls; appears only if DEQ has applied one or more such controls to the site). A key to certain acronyms and terms used in the report appears at the bottom of the page.

Note: DEQ may have posted online documents related to this site. If so, they would be available for viewing or downloading on ECSI Summary Page

Go to DEQ's Facility Profiler to see a site map as well is information on what other DEQ programs may be active at this site.

Site Photos

Click to View Photo Picture Date Caption Size
View Photo 10/17/2005 FIGURE 1: Pacific City Disposal Site Located on Regional Topographic Map 173 Kb
View Photo 10/17/2005 FIGURE 2: Pacific City Disposal Site Located on a 7.5-minute Topographic Map 142 Kb
View Photo 10/17/2005 FIGURE 3: 1994 Aerial Photo of Pacific City Disposal Site Area 76 Kb
View Photo 10/17/2005 FIGURE 4: Pacific City Disposal Site Located on a Composite of Tillamook County Tax Lot Maps 41 Kb
View Photo 10/17/2005 FIGURE 5: Pacific City Disposal Site Location in Relation to the Authorized Boundary for the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge 108 Kb

General Site Information

Site ID: 927 Site Name: Pacific City Disposal Site CERCLIS No: 001003067
Address: 38255 Brooten Rd. Pacific City 97135
  County: Tillamook Region: Northwest
Other location information: The former open-burning dump is located along the north side of Brooten Road, about 1.5 miles southeast of Pacific City. U.S. Highway 101 lies less than 0.25-mile east of the site. Nestucca Bay lies less than 0.6-mile southwest of the site. A tidal marsh of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge lies along the south side of Brooten Road, 600-feet south of the former dump.
Investigation Status: Suspect site requiring further investigation
  Brownfield Site: No NPL Site: No Orphan Site: No Study Area: No
Property: Twnshp/Range/Sect: 4S , 10W , 32 Tax Lots: 2400
  Latitude: 45.1811 deg. Longitude: -123.9299 deg.  Site Size: 38.68 acres
Other Site Names:
  Pacific City Transfer Station

Site Characteristics

General Site Description: A former 40-acre unlined open-burning dump for municipal household garbage that is now the location of an active solid waste transfer station. The site is located along Brooten Road about 1.5 miles SE of Pacific City. The dump was also the site of open tire burning and open burning of tree stumps, limbs, and brush. The former dump also had at least two septic sludge disposal ponds.

The former dump is located on the southeast foothills of Brooten Mountain. The site is surrounded by rural residential properties. A narrow strip of rural residential properties and a 120-acre pasture (a tidal marsh to Nestuccas Bay) separate the dump site from Nestucca Bay, which lies southwest of the site. Residences in this area use private domestic wells, springs, or surface water as their drinking water supplies. The tidal marsh and pasture lie within the authorized boundary of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, although most property within the refuge boundary is still privately owned. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has mapped wetlands extending up to within about 200-feet of the toe of the former dump.

Large volumes of groundwater and surface water ran through, and beneath, the dump while it operated. A spring at one time discharged into the NW corner of the dump. An unnamed creek entered the eastern edge of the fill. A June 1972 Solid Waste General Information form prepared by the Tillamook County Sanitarian described the site as a 40-acre, open-burning dump; waste oil, tires, sewage solids, and putrescible wastes were not excluded from the dump.

The dump was closed in October 1980, and the site was covered with a 6-inch thick intermediate layer of dirty rock, followed by a 1.5-foot thick layer of soil of unspecified texture. It is unclear how effective this cap is at minimizing rainfall infiltration into the old dump.
Site History: The site operated as an open-burning dump from sometime before 1972 until 1980. It is not known when the waste burning operations first began. A Solid Waste Transfer Station bgean operating at the site in 1981, and is still operational.
Contamination Information: A former dump that served the areas of Beaver, Hebo, Cloverdale, Pacific City and Neskowin, all within about a 9-mile radius of the site. In 1972, it was serving a population of 2,400, and received about 1,920 tons of wastes per year (dump records from 1976 indicate 5,212 cu. yds. of compacted wastes received in 1976). All wastes were open-burned until October 1980. The site also had at least two sewage lagoons. DEQ reluctantly granted permission for the subsequent Solid Waste Transfer Station to burn tree stumps, limbs, and brush at the site twice annually between 1986 and 1995. It is unknown when the dump first opened.

A moderate volume of leachate was reported at the site in 1977. Leachate formerly discharged through a culvert under Brooten Road to ditches in a pasture (a Nestucca Bay tidal marsh) to the southwest. A U.S. Air Force contractor hauled wastes from Mt. Hebo Air Force Station (AFS) (ECSI #181) to this landfill in 1977 (building materials, roofing materials, construction materials). Landfill waste receipts suggest this may have amounted to about 1,100 cu. yds. of compacted wastes brought to the dump in July thru October 1977. DEQ directed Mt. Hebo AFS to cease such disposals, as well as sewage disposals, at the dump on November 1, 1977.

The Mt. Hebo ASF was inactivated in 1980, and demolished in 1983-86. Demolition wastes from the AFS contained PCBs and asbestos. In addition, blood tests and behavioral changes of an on-site demolition contractor at the Mt. Hebo AFS indicated that he suffered from lead intoxication, so lead may also have been a contaminant at the former AFS. There is no indication that any of these demolition wastes were sent to the Pacific City Disposal site, although AFS wastes sent to Pacific City Disposal in 1977 were never fully characterized or analyzed.

A 10/3/95 DEQ sample of ponded water collected near the toe of the old dump contained no detectable arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, or mercury, no detectable semivolatile organics, but a relatively low concentration of toluene (15.4 ppb). It's not clear if the ponded water was leachate or surface runoff (nearby Cloverdave received 1.0 inch of rainfall on 10/3/95, and 2.7 additional inches of rainfall during the preceeding 9 days). The Drinking Water Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for toluene is 1,000 ppb, and the EPA Region IX Preliminary Remediation Goal (PRG) for toluene in tap water is 720 ppb. However, DEQ's Level II Ecological Risk Assessment Screening Value for toluene effects on surface water aquatic life is 9.8 ppb.

Residual ash from refuse incineration commonly contains elevated concentrations of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), such as benzo(a)pyrene, and toxic metals, such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, and zinc.

Open burning dumps were also relatively inefficient waste incinerators that typically generated concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans that may have been up to 2- to 3 orders of magnitude greater than those generated at modern municipal waste incinerators. At open refuse burning sites, most of the dioxins and dibenzofurans are associated with the fly ash, although lower concentrations usually also remain in residual ash. The site's buried wastes may be contaminated with chlorinated dioxins and dibenzofurans.

Wastes within the former dump, as well as surface soils, leachate, surface water, surface water sediments, and groundwater within the immediate vicinity of the site have not been adequately analyzed for these potential contaminants of concern.
Manner and Time of Release: Much of the hazardous substances associated with wastes taken to the dump may have been dispersed in fly ash. Fly ash could have contaminated surrounding properties. There is concern that any hazardous substances present within the dump's residual ash could be mobilized by infiltrating rainwater and groundwater. It is unknown when the dump first began operating, but DEQ first became interested in the site in 1972, and it was uncommon for small dumps constructed prior to 1972 to have engineered liners. The former burning dump is believed to be unlined as DEQ observed a spring discharging into the dump in 1977. Springs are common along the south slope of Brooten Mountain. There is also concern that the cover placed over the dump site in 1980 may not be impervious to rainfall. The dump site was capped with a 6-inch thick intermediate cap of "dusty rock", followed by a 1.5-foot thick final cap of soil of unknown texture. A small area where the site's current Transfer Station is located was also later blacktopped, which should greatly reduced rainwater infiltration, although this area represents only a small fraction of the former dump site.
Hazardous Substances/Waste Types: Undocumented. It is not known when the dump began operating. Until October 1980, the site was an open-burning dump for municipal household garbage. A solid waste transfer station began operating at the site in 1981. In a May 1986 letter to Tillamook County, DEQ "reluctantly" granted the transfer station conditional permission to burn tree stumps, limbs, and brush at the site twice a year, although the site's 1995 Solid Waste Permit renewal again prohibited open burning.

Leachate samples collected in 1972 indicated slightly elevated Total Dissolved Solids, iron, zinc and conductivity in surface water downstream from the dump, compared to upstream samples. Specific sampling locations were not documented. DEQ issued the site a Preliminary Notice of Violation in July 1980 in part because leachate was observed escaping from the site and discharging to surface waters.

Building debris that was sent to the site from the Mt. Hebo Air Force Station (AFS) in 1977 probably contained asphalt (PAHs in roofing material) and may also have contained asbestos, PCBs, and lead.

A DEQ sampling of surface water ponded at the toe of the former dump on 10/3/95 contained no detectable semi-volatile organic compounds, and no detectable arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, or mercury, but a relatively low concentration of toluene (15.4 ppb). DEQ did not collect a surface water sample upstream from the dump site, and it is unclear if the water was leachate or rainfall runoff: the area received approximately 1-inch of rainfall during the day of sampling, and a total of approximately 2.7-inches during the preceeding nine days.

Potential Contaminants of Concern at the site include toxic metals, semi-volatile organic compounds (especially PAHs), volatile organic compounds (especially BTEX), and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans. A limited volume of material that was potentially contaminated with asbestos, PCB, and lead may also have been disposed of at the site from Mt. Hebo AFS.
Pathways: Historic open-burning activities at the now-closed dump could have distributed contaminated fly ash to the countryside surrounding the site. Potential contaminants in residual ash within the dump could be mobilized by groundwater or leach to surface water streams along the site.

Rural residential properties surround the site, and a tidal marsh of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located within about 600-feet south and downhill from the site. Nearby rural residences use groundwater, spring water, and surface water streams as domestic drinking water sources. The City of Pacific City has 4 municipal wells to northwest, but they are distant and lie on the other side of Brooten Mountain, so it is unlikely the municipal wells would be affected.

The former dump's Closure Plan is incomplete, so there is no assurance that the site cap adequately minimizes rainwater infiltration, or that groundwater and surface water are not contaminated. The site is located less than 0.6-mile northeast of Nestucca Bay. Concerns: spring and fall Chinook, Coho and Chum salmon, summer and winter steelhead, searun cutthroat trout, brown trout, and Pacific lamprey in Nestucca Bay. ODFW considers fish in this waterway threatened. Oysters are also commercially harvested from Nestucca Bay. The area also provides winter range for elk, and has tidal marshes and wetlands. Nestucca Spit State Park, Kiwanda Beach, Oregon Islands Wilderness, and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge are all located within the general area.
Environmental/Health Threats: Rural residential properties border each side of the site, so surface runoff or historic fly ash from the open-burning dump could directly contaminate residential property, representing a potential direct contact or incidental ingestion threat to nearby residents.

The site is located in a survey section (T4S/R10W-S32) having a high density of domestic wells. Several nearby residences have Water Rights for using spring water or surface water as a domestic drinking water source. Oregon Water resources Department has logs for at least nine domestic wells within about 600-feet of the site; six of these are either downgradient or crossgradient from the site; four of these nearby downgradient or crossgradient wells have static water levels of 7- to 16-feet below ground surface (bgs). Four wells located within 300- to 1,300-feet downgradient or crossgradient from the site may qualify as Public Water Supplies (Eagle's View Bed & Breakfast (3 wells) and Pacific Medical Clinic (1 well)). If site groundwater or surface water is contaminated, it could represent potential oral ingestion, inhalation, or direct contact threats to nearby residents or the general public.

A tidal marsh of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NBNWR) is located about 600-feet south and downhill from the site. USGS has mapped wetlands as far north as within about 200-feet of the toe of the former dump. The portion of the tidal marsh directly southwest of the site is privately owned and used for pasturing livestock. Dusky Canada geese and Aleutian Canada geese use short-grass pastureland surrounding Nestucca Bay for wintering, feeding, and nesting. The Nestucca Bay area supports approximately 10-percent of the world's population of dusky Canada geese, and 100-percent of the world's population of the Semidi Island subpopulation of Aleutian Canada geese. The National Heritage Network considers dusky Canada goose populations a cause for long term concern. The Aleutian Canada goose is federally-listed as a Threatened Species; the State of Oregon considers it an Endangered Species. The NBNWR also provides habitat for Peregrine falcons (listed as an Endangered Species by Oregon), and bald eagles (federally- and state-listed as a Threatened Species). Marbled murelets (federally- and state-listed as a Threatened Species) have also been observed within the refuge. Any contamination reaching the refuge could represent a threat to livestock pastured within the tidal marsh, or to sensitive species habitat.

Surface water within the NBNWR tidal marshes drains to Nestucca Bay, which is important migratory habitat for summer and winter steelhead trout, and important rearing and migratory habitat for coho, chum, and spring and fall chinook salmon, as well as habitat for searun cutthroat trout and Pacific lamprey. Coastal coho are federally-listed as a Threatened Species, while Oregon considers it a Species of Concern. Coastal steelhead are considered a Candidate for federal Threatened and Endangered Species listing, while Oregon considers it a Vulnerable Species. The federal government considers searun cutthroat trout and Pacific lamprey Species of Concern, while Oregon considers them Vulnerable Species. Oregon considers coastal chum salmon a Species of Concern. Any contaminants reaching the bay could represent a potential threat to sensitive aquatic species within the bay.

Nestucca Bay surface water is used for drinking, swimming, and consumption of fish and shellfish. Oysters are commercially harvest from Nestucca Bay. Any contaminants reaching the bay also represent a potential threat to surface water consumers, swimmers, and fish and shellfish consumers.

Nestucca Bay has been included on DEQ's 303(d) list of water quality impaired surface water bodies since 1996 because of elevated bacterial contamination.
Status of Investigative or Remedial Action: (11/17/95 SMF/SAS) A former open-burning dump site now used as a permitted Solid Waste Transfer Station. Although there is no direct evidence of hazardous substance disposals or releases at the site, the fact that substantial open burning of refuse occurred and that neither used oil or tires were excluded from the site prior to its receiving a Solid Waste Permit from DEQ suggest that PAHs, toxic metals, and possibly polychlorinated dioxins and dibenzofurans may be present in the burn residues and fly ash that left the site. Leachate was poorly controlled and may continue to flow off-site. Samples that DEQ collected from ponded water at the toe of the closed dump in 10/95 provide no indication that the site threatens human health, although the concentration of toluene detected in the samples indicate that surface water runoff could represent a potential threat to aquatic life in tidal marshes of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is unclear if the 1995 samples represented site leachate, rainfall runoff, or a potenial upstream contaminant source, though.

Buried wastes, groundwater, and surface water at the site, and nearby soils, have not been adequately characterized to determine if the site represents a significant threat to human health or the environment.

Residences in the immediate vicinity of the site rely on groundwater, spring water, and surface water as domestic drinking water supplies. Surface water and groundwater from the site probably also discharges to tidal marshes of the nearby Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. A Preliminary Assessment and further analyses of buried wastes, groundwater, surface water, surface water sediments, and local soils are needed to determine if burn residues from the site may contain hazardous substances at concentrations that could represent a threat to human health and the environment.

[7/23/14 SA/SAM] EPA through its contractor Ecology and Environment, performed a preliminary assessment in June 2014. Based on the PA report a Site Investigation is warranted. EPA plans to perform a site investigation at the Pacific City Disposal Site.
Data Sources: DEQ Solid Waste Permit files for Pacific City Transfer Station;
Closed Disposal Site correspondence from owner and/or operator; DEQ leachate sampling on 10/3/95.

Substance Contamination Information

Substance Media Contaminated Concentration Level Date Recorded
TOLUENE Surface Water 15.4 ppb toluene in water ponded at toe of former dump. 10/3/1995

Investigative, Remedial and Administrative Actions

Action Start Date Compl. Date Resp. Staff Lead Pgm
Site added to database 10/03/1989   Alice Larsen SAS
Site Screening recommended (EV) 02/12/1994 02/12/1994 Daniel Crouse SAS
SITE EVALUATION 10/03/1995 11/17/1995 Stephen Fortuna SAS
Site Investigation recommended (SI) 11/17/1995 11/17/1995 Stephen Fortuna SAS
State Expanded Preliminary Assessment recommended (XPA) 10/14/2005 12/20/2005 Stephen Fortuna SAS
Options Letter For Further Action Sent 12/20/2005 12/20/2005 Stephen Fortuna SAS
VCS Waiting List 12/20/2005 07/31/2012 Kevin Dana VCS
Refer to Program 07/31/2012 07/31/2012 Kevin Dana SAS
Site added to CERCLIS 08/09/2012 08/09/2012
EPA Basic Preliminary Assessment 03/25/2014 07/08/2014
SITE INVESTIGATION  (Primary Action) 07/23/2014   Sarah Miller SAS

Key to Certain Acronyms and Terms in this Report:

You may be able to obtain more information about this site by contacting Sarah Miller at the Northwest regional office or via email at If this does not work, you may contact Gil Wistar at (503) 229-5512, or via email at or contact the Northwest regional office.