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Portland, OR—Please credit statement to: Oregon DEQ

Following Oregon DEQ’s request on July 30, 2020, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services provided a stormwater report to DEQ on Sept. 9, 2020 with the results from stormwater sampling related to the use of tear gas. The report includes all of the information DEQ requested.

BES did what DEQ would expect under their municipal stormwater permit – proactively address a potential source of contamination and test to evaluate the possible impacts.

The levels detected in stormwater, while concerning, are not high enough to cause immediate harm to human health. DEQ staff in the Stormwater Program and at the Lab will evaluate this report over the course of the next several weeks. What we do know is that the Portland Police Bureau and federal agents’ deployment of tear gas has created elevated levels of pollution in stormwater, particularly near the downtown areas where it was deployed regularly. Other protest activities, including fireworks and burning materials, may have also contributed. In addition, some of these pollutants enter stormwater through daily human activities.

DEQ will be working with the City of Portland to determine next steps to ensure that their stormwater protects the Willamette River.

More information about the report is available at

Media Contact: Susan Mills, public affairs specialist, (503) 229-5579,


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