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Environmental Cleanup Site Information (ECSI) Database Site Summary Report - Details for Site ID 959, Port of Columbia County - Former Pope & Talbot

This report shows data entered as of June 29, 2022 at 3:21:00 PM

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.

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Environmental Cleanup Site Information (ECSI) Database Site Summary Report - Details for Site ID 959, Port of Columbia County - Former Pope & Talbot

Site Photos
Click to View Photo Picture Date Caption Size
View Photo 01/10/2000 Aerial photo of site (date unknown) 2296 Kb

General Site Information

Site ID: 959 Site Name: Port of Columbia County - Former Pope & Talbot CERCLIS No: 981771223
Address: 1550 Railroad Ave. St. Helens 97051
  County: Columbia Region: Northwest
Other location information:
Investigation Status: Listed on CRL or Inventory
Brownfield Site: Yes NPL Site: No Orphan Site: Yes Study Area: No
Property: Twnshp/Range/Sect: 4N , 1W , 9 Tax Lots: 300, 302
  Latitude: 45.8413 deg. Longitude: -122.8094 deg.  Site Size: 42.47 acres
Other Site Names:
  Niedermeyer-Martin Co.
  Pope & Talbot - St. Helens
  Pacific Wood Treating Co.

Site Characteristics

General Site Description:
Site History:
Contamination Information: (10/12 DAB) EPA conducted a site inspection with sampling in August 1989 to determine if past wood-treating operations had impacted soils, sediment, and surface water at the site. Results of the sampling showed significant contamination of subsurface soils and sediment with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the primary constituents of creosote. Pentachlorophenol, arsenic, and other metals were also found in subsurface soils at elevated levels. The off-site wells were not found to be impacted by site contaminants, although on-site groundwater contamination and hydrogeology were not characterized. Pope and Talbot conducted a site investigation in 1993, which was limited to vadose zone soils. Results of this investigation indicated that creosote compounds (PAHs), and to a lesser degree, PCP and arsenic, have impacted soils at the site. Petroleum hydrocarbons, including gasoline, diesel, and heavy oils were also found in soils at the site. Impacts to groundwater were not determined. The results of the Remedial Investigation (RI) have confirmed the presence of PAHs, petroleum hydrocarbons, BTEX, PCP, and arsenic in subsurface soils and groundwater at the site. DNAPL is also present in the subsurface in the former process area. BTEX and PAHs were also found in surface water and sediments adjacent to the site.
Manner and Time of Release: Past operations at the site including leaks and spills from process tanks and retorts, and leakage from underground storage tanks containing diesel and gasoline. Time of releases are unknown.
Hazardous Substances/Waste Types: Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (constituents of creosote), pentachlorophenol (PCP), arsenic, chromium, petroleum hydrocarbons, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene.
Pathways: Site is surrounded by wetlands, undeveloped land, and Scappoose Bay. Milton Creek flows along the west and southwestern sides of the site, discharges into Scappoose Bay, which in turn flows into the Multnomah Channel (which converges with the Columbia River approximately 1.25 miles downstream from Scappoose Bay). There are no known direct drinking water intakes from the Multnomah Channel or Columbia River within 15 miles downstream of the site, although St. Helens and Columbia City residents receive drinking water from two Ranney collector wells that are located 3 to 4 miles downstream from the site. These collector wells are adjacent to the Columbia River and screened 60 feet below river bottom into an aquifer with a direct hydraulic connection to the Columbia River. St. Helens also has a supplemental well for extreme water demand. All residences within 4 miles of the site use groundwater for drinking water. The closest domestic well is 0.8 miles northwest of the site. The river, bay, and channel are used heavily for fishing (sturgeon, salmon, trout, and shad). The river's floodplain supports overwintering waterfowl, shore birds, black-tail deer, and other animals. Sauvie Island, a state wildlife area, is about 0.25 miles east of the site.
Environmental/Health Threats: Direct contact with site contaminants in contaminated soils is unlikely, except for excavation workers. Between 1963 and 1973 Port of St. Helen's placed fill over the entire site so the existing contamination was covered. Seepage of DNAPL and dissolved-phase contaminants in groundwater into Scappoose Bay and Multnomah Channel is assumed to present unacceptable risks to ecological receptors and potentially to humans. Direct contact with contaminated sediment in Scappoose Bay is a concern.
Status of Investigative or Remedial Action: (10/12 DAB) Based upon the results of the EPA and Pope and Talbot initial site investigations and a potentially responsible party (PRP) search, DEQ concluded that the Port of St. Helens was the current property owner; Pope and Talbot was a past owner/operator; and Niedermeyer-Martin Company was a past operator. All were PRPs for conducting additional investigations and cleanup actions at the site. The Site Response Section sent a 14-day notification letter to three PRPs in April 1994, requesting the parties work together under an administrative consent order with DEQ to conduct a site investigation and cleanup actions as necessary. Niedermeyer-Martin Company submitted a formal response to DEQ indicating that the company is the debtor currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings. The Port of St. Helens and Pope and Talbot indicated a willingness to work with DEQ, and Consent Order negotiations were initiated in 8/94. The Consent Order, which requires an Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, was signed by the DEQ Director on 4/27/95.

The remedial investigation (RI) was performed and the RI report was submitted to DEQ. After comments on the report were addressed, DEQ approved the report on May 5, 2000.

A human health baseline risk assessment and Ecological Risk Assessment were completed in 2006. The Level II Ecological Risk Assessment was completed in October 2003. A Level III Ecological Risk Assessment including sediment sampling, bioassays, and bioaccumulation study was conducted from October 2003 to August 2006.

The ecological risk assessment assumed that the groundwater seeps represented an unacceptable risk to ecological receptors. Risk to humans from the seeps was also a potential as well as exposure of site soils and groundwater for excavation workers. Concentrations of PCBs in surface soil are considered unacceptable with respect to the potential for erosion Scappoose Bay.

An expanded feasibility study work plan outline limited to DNAPL migration and contaminated subsurface soils and groundwater was submitted to DEQ in 2007. DEQ submitted comments on the document identifying several data gaps especially with respect to sediment contamination. Preparation of the feasibility study report was delayed due to the bankruptcy of Pope and Talbot announced in November 2007. After the bankruptcy the Port continued to perform under the Order.

Data gaps in the remedial investigation were identified in 2007 especially with respect to sediment contamination after surface sediment contamination and sheening were observed in sediment adjacent to the property in 2008; this had apparently not been identified before. DEQ required that the Port cordon off the area until the remedy was in place. Additional investigation was therefore required to address the data gaps. The additional investigation included sediment and porewater sampling and groundwater sampling related to transport to surface water.

The final phases of the supplemental remedial investigation will be performed in October 2012 and July 2013.

Sediment investigation under the transfer table dock was completed in Fall 2013. The top of the transfer table was removed to permit access to the area for investigation. Preparation of the Supplementatl Remedial Investigation report including an updated risk assessment is in progress. The feasibility study report preparation will be initiated after the Supplemental Remedial Investigation report is approved.

In 2012 DEQ issued a conditional NFA for a portion of the property. The property was divided into two parcels: Area 1 and Area 2. Area 1 is where the wood treating activities primarily took place.
Contaminant concentrations in Area 2, which is on the northeastern part of the property, are primarily below risk-based levels. The public comment period was completed on December 31, 2008. The Conditional NFA was issued in 2012 after delays related to surveying the property and finalizing the eastement and equitable servitudes (EES) for Area 2. As there is some contamination on the property, the EES includes a soil management plan for evaluation of the soil to determine the appropriate disposal location for any soil generated and disposed off-site.

(5/7/2017) The Supplemental Remedial Investigation Report was submitted on May 22, 2014. DEQ issued comments on the report on March 15, 2015. Meetings to discuss the calculations for ecological risk assessment were completed in summer 2015. DEQ issued final comments on the supplemental remedial investigaiton report in September 2015. Discussion of DEQ's comments is in progress including planning for additional investigation in Scappoose Bay and Milton Creek





Data Sources: NWR cleanup files

May 22, 2014. Supplemental Remedial Investigation Report. AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Inc.


Substance Contamination Information

Substance Media Contaminated Concentration Level Date Recorded
ARSENIC Groundwater 38 ug/L 9/30/1997
ARSENIC Soil 74 mg/kg 7/23/1996
BENZENE Groundwater 150 ug/L 11/22/1996
BENZENE Soil 0.22 mg/kg 7/26/1996
BENZO(a)PYRENE Groundwater 64,000 ug/L 2/19/1997
CHROMIUM Groundwater 6 ug/L 11/22/1996
CHROMIUM Soil 183 mg/kg  
COPPER Groundwater 20 ug/L 9/30/1998
COPPER Soil 171 mg/kg 7/26/1998
ETHYLBENZENE Groundwater 460 ug/L 11/22/1996
ETHYLBENZENE Soil 24 mg/kg 9/14/1998
NAPHTHALENE Groundwater 20,000,000 ug/L 2/19/1997
NAPHTHALENE Soil 4,100 mg/kg 7/26/1998
PENTACHLOROPHENOL Groundwater 2.6 ug/L 8/21/1997
PENTACHLOROPHENOL Soil 0.12 mg/kg 7/23/1996
POLYAROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (PAH) Soil 23 mg/kg 9/10/1998
TOLUENE Groundwater 480 ug/L 8/20/1996
TOLUENE Soil 12 mg/kg 9/14/1998
XYLENEs Groundwater 1,200 ug/L 11/22/1996
XYLENEs Soil 10 mg/kg 9/14/1998

Investigative, Remedial and Administrative Actions

Action Start Date Compl. Date Resp. Staff Lead Pgm
REMEDIAL INVESTIGATION  (Primary Action) 07/01/2007   Lauren Paulik SRS
View Full Report Showing Action History

Site Environmental Controls

Control Description Begin Date End Date Last Reviewed By Last Review Date
Use Restriction Groundwater 03/13/2013   D. Bailey, DEQ
  Comments: [Applies to Area 2 of site.] No use will be made of groundwater at the property, including pumping from wells for potable water supply. This condition will not apply to extraction associated with groundwater treatment or monitoring activities approved by DEQ, or to temporary dewatering activities related to construction, development, or installation of sewers or utilities at the property.
Use Restriction Land 03/13/2012   D. Bailey, DEQ
  Comments: [Applies to Area 2 of site.] The following operations and uses are prohibited on the property: Residential use of any type; Agricultural use for the production of food crops of any type; and Underground injection control systems for stormwater management.
Easement Equitable Servitude 03/20/2012   Katie Daugherty 09/26/2021
  Comments: [Applies to Parcel 2 of site.] No use will be made of groundwater at the property, including pumping from wells for potable water supply. This condition will not apply to extraction associated with groundwater treatment or monitoring activities approved by DEQ, or to temporary dewatering activities related to construction, development, or installation of sewers or utilities at the property. The following operations and uses are prohibited on the property: Residential use of any type; Agricultural use for the production of food crops of any type; and Underground injection control systems for stormwater management.

Key to Certain Acronyms and Terms in this Report:

You may be able to obtain more information about this site by contacting Lauren Paulik at the Northwest regional office or via email at blair.paulik@deq.oregon.gov. If this does not work, you may contact Ximena Cruz Cuevas (503) 229-6811, or via email at ximena.cruzcuevas@deq.state.or.us or contact the Northwest regional office.