Programs

The owner of a 150-acre property that was once home to farmland in Salem plans to transport soil that contains the insecticide dieldrin from the site to a farm outside Keizer where it will be used to fill in two abandoned quarries. DEQ is reviewing public comments on the plan and could choose to approve, deny or modify the plan after its review.
 

The plan

The current owner of the Salem property, I&E Construction Inc., plans to build a housing development known as Northstar on the site, which is located along Kale Road in Salem (Marion County map 062W32C, tax lots 200, 701, 800, 900 and 1000.)
 
Dieldrin has been found in soil from the surface to 30 inches below ground at levels above DEQ’s standards considered safe for residential ingestion, skin contact and inhalation. The developer joined DEQ’s Voluntary Cleanup program so that the contamination could be cleaned up to DEQ’s standards before the site was developed.
 
Over 350 soil samples from the site were analyzed for dieldrin. The property owner wants to excavate and remove all soil above this standard before developing the property. Under the plan, about 152,000 cubic yards of soil will be removed from the site and transported by covered trucks to a farm at 6848 Windsor Island Road, Keizer. The transport route is approximately 5.3 miles via Hazelgreen Rd NE, continuing west to Chemawa Road/Lockhaven Dr, and north on Windsor Island Road.
 
The soil will be used to fill two abandoned quarries on the farm site. While the dieldrin levels in the soil are slightly above DEQ’s residential screening levels, they should be safe for farm use. One of the quarries on the Windsor Island Road property is in a floodplain, the developer will need a floodplain development permit from Marion County before filling the site. Portions of this quarry are also in a wetlands so the developer will also need a state removal/fill permit from the Oregon Department of State Lands. It may also need a permit for filling wetlands from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
 
Once the quarries are filled, the developer plans to cap them with 3 feet of clean topsoil.
Soil will not be transported and reused off-site until DEQ reviews and responds to public comments, and has made a final decision regarding the remedial action, and specifically the off-site soil reuse plan.
 

What other requirements are in place?

Restrictions will be placed on the property where the soil is being placed to document the area and provide an advisory regarding any concerns DEQ may have with the future use of the land in this area.
 
Workers will be required to control dust and conduct air monitoring during any excavation work.
 

November 2017 update

DEQ has made a final decision and selected Alternative 5 as the final remedy. Alternative 5 includes excavation of about 152,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated with dieldrin at levels above the residential risk value of 0.034 milligram per kilogram (part per million). The soil will be taken to the farm site located on 6848 Windsor Island Rd, north of Keizer and used to infill two old quarries. Infilling of the southern quarry will not be allowed until appropriate flood plain and wetland permits are obtained. A deed notice will be placed on the farm property to document the location of the soil and restrict residential use in the area until dieldrin levels are reduced to residential risk values. Details on the decision are provided in the November 2017 Record of Decision which can be found under "Documents and Related Links".

September 2017 update

DEQ completed responses to public comments. A general response to public comments document is available under “Documents and Related Links.”

The developer completed excavation and removal of soil contaminated with dieldrin above the residential risk standard on the east side of the property. The soil has been stockpiled on an adjacent section of the west property. The stockpile was hydro-seeded with quick-growing grass and a silt fence was placed on the low side for erosion control. The contaminated soil will remain on the property until a decision is made on the final remedy and all appropriate permits are obtained.  DEQ plans to make a final decision in October 2017.

Next steps

The developer is currently working on the infrastructure on the east side of the property.  Offsite transport of soil or excavation work on the west side of the property will not begin until after a final decision is made. A tentative schedule for the project and development is:
October 2017 through January 2018
  • DEQ makes a final decision on the remedy in October 2017
  • Installation of underground utilities including sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water
  • Inspection by City of Salem continues, as needed, for compliance with 1200 Z permit
February 2018 through April 2018
  • Install curbing and pave streets
  • Install underground electric
  • Inspection by City of Salem continues, as needed, for compliance with 1200 Z permit
April 2018 through August 2018
  • Work tentatively starts on west side of property
  • Tentative start of contaminated soil transport offsite
  • DEQ oversight continues with excavation and transport of contaminated soil
 
DEQ closed the public comment period on Aug. 14, after a two-week extension and is currently reviewing and preparing responses to the comments.
 
DEQ allowed the developer to start preliminary excavation work on the east side of the property on August 7, 2017, after approving dust control and air monitoring plan.  The developer has excavated two small areas of contaminated soil on the eastern part of the property and stockpiled this soil on the western part of the site with a silt fence placed around it to prevent runoff and erosion. The soil will be spread out and seeded with fast-growing grass seed.  Soil will not be transported offsite until DEQ reviews and responds to public comment and makes a final decision regarding the transport and placement of the soil.
 
During the first and second weeks of excavation work there was an industrial hygienist or technician onsite site for a week. Because results from air monitoring showed no dieldrin in dust samples, DEQ didn’t require further monitoring or oversight. The contractor will continue with dust suppression and mitigation efforts to limit dust during excavation work.
 
Next Steps
Once contaminated soil is removed from the east part of the site, the developer plans to regrade the area and develop the infrastructure (i.e. utilities, road bed). Offsite soil transport or work on the west side of the property will not begin until after all comments are addressed and a final plan is approved.
The site has been farmed since the 1890s. Row crops were grown in the earlier years and grass and grain crops in more recent years. Strawberries were grown on portions of the property in the 1950s and 1960s.
 
Dieldrin, banned for decades, is considered a legacy pesticide and remains in the environment long after its use. Dieldren was legal and widely used in the Willamette Valley and throughout the U.S. from the 1950s to the 1970s on many crops, including strawberries and corn. Due to how long it takes for dieldrin to break down in the environment, detection in agricultural soils in the valley is relatively common, but at very low levels as is the case here.
 
Detection of dieldrin and other legacy pesticides in soil is not new or unexpected. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “dieldrin is everywhere in the environment but at very low levels.”
 

​Contact

DEQ Project Manager
503-378-5075
 
Media Inquires
541-686-7997
 

Documents and related links

 
DEQ has made a final decision and selected Alternative 5 as the final remedy. Alternative 5 includes excavation of about 152,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated with dieldrin at levels above the residential risk value of 0.034 milligram per kilogram (part per million). The soil will be taken to the farm site located on 6848 Windsor Island Rd, north of Keizer and used to infill two old quarries. Infilling of the southern quarry will not be allowed until appropriate flood plain and wetland permits are obtained. A deed notice will be placed on the farm property to document the location of the soil and restrict residential use in the area until dieldrin levels are reduced to residential risk values. Details on the decision are provided in the November 2017 Record of Decision which can be found under "Documents and Related Links".