Bradford Island lies within the Bonneville Dam complex, near Cascade Locks on the Columbia River. DEQ has been working with the US Army Corps of Engineers under a voluntary cleanup agreement, to evaluate and oversee cleanup of various contamination sources on the island.
The Army Corps of Engineers used the east end of the island as a landfill and dumped electrical components and other debris in the river near the northeast corner of the island. Some of this equipment contained polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly known as PCBs, which are highly toxic, do not break down readily, and can bioaccumulate in resident fish.
The last cleanup activity at the site was in 2007 when the Army Corps of Engineers removed PCB-contaminated sediments from the river. The agency removed PCB-containing electrical equipment from the river in 2000 and 2002. The most recent sampling of sediments, clams and smallmouth bass indicate that PCB concentrations are still too high to protect fish living nearby, and people who eat the fish.
Due to high concentrations of PCBs, the Oregon Health Authority recommends that no one eat resident fish caught in the waters extending from Bradford Island upstream to the mouth of Ruckel Creek, approximately one mile north of Bonneville Dam.
The Army Corps of Engineers will conduct a feasibility study to identify and evaluate future cleanup actions.
A remedial investigation report completed in 2012 concluded that additional cleanup work is needed. Additional fish and clam sampling was conducted in 2011, the results of which were not included in the 2012 report. These results confirmed that contaminant levels, especially in some fish, are still quite high.
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