The owner of a 150-acre property that was once home to farmland in Salem plans to transport soil that contains low levels of the insecticide dieldrin from the site to a farm outside Keizer where it will be used to fill in two abandoned quarries. DEQ approved a cleanup plan for the site in November 2017. The Record of Decision and documents detailing the cleanup plan are under “Documents and Related Links.”

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.
Under the plan, about 197,500 cubic yards of soil will be removed from the site and transported by covered trucks to a farm at 6848 Windsor Island Road north of 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.
While the dieldrin levels in the soil are slightly above DEQ’s residential screening levels, they should be safe for farm use. Because 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 wetland so the developer will also need a state removal/fill permit from the Oregon Department of State Lands. The developer has applied for both the floodplain development and wetland fill permits.
Approval for soil reuse in the southern quarry is pending completion of appropriate permits. Once the quarries are filled, the developer plans to cap them with 3 feet of cleaner fill.

What other requirements are in place?

  • DEQ will place a deed notice on the farm to document the location of the dieldrin-contaminated soil and restrict residential use in the reuse area. 
  • Workers will be required to control dust and have a spill prevention plan in place before transporting any contaminated soil off site.
In the next few weeks, dieldrin-contaminated soil that was stockpiled at the Northstar Development site will be transported off site and additional excavation will begin.
The schedule for soil transport and work on the west property includes:
  • Mid-May 2018: Preparation for soil loading and offsite transport
  • Mid/late May 2018 – November 2018: Transport of stockpiled soil to farm reuse site. About 50-75 trucks loads per day will be transported from the Northstar site to the farm between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Soil transport is expected to continue through November.
  • June - October 2018: Begin soil cleanup and removal work on the west side of the property and work on infrastructure for the west side area.
  • October - November 2018: Site will be hydro seeded and winterized.
  • November 2018: Final soil cleanup report.
Other developments
I & E Construction Inc. recently requested that the soil cleanup goal for the west boundary of the property where apartments are planned be changed to 0.085 mg/kg, DEQ’s urban residential risk level. Currently, the cleanup goal on this part of the property is 0.034 mg/kg which is the residential cleanup level. The residential cleanup level applies primarily to single-family homes with yards and gardens. DEQ will likely approve the change since the urban residential level is more appropriate for apartments. DEQ will post a final notice on its decision in the next several weeks.
I & E also requested a No Further Action determination for the east property where soil cleanup has been completed. DEQ issues a No Further Action determination for a site when cleanup goals have been met. Since the cleanup goals have been met on the east property by the removal of contaminated soils, DEQ is recommending issuance of a No Further Action determination for the east property. The determination will enable the construction of new homes on this part of the site.
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".
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.”