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Hazardous waste cleanup begins for Holiday Farm Fire

If a landowner denies the EPA the right to enter, they will be responsible for disposing of the debris themselves.

Posted: Oct 28, 2020 6:27 PM
Updated: May 3, 2021 11:39 AM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- The Environmental Protection Agency has arrived in Lane County with the goal of finding and getting rid of hazardous waste left behind by the Holiday Farm Fire.

"This is hazardous waste and it is a threat to your health," said Lauren Wirtis, a spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Quality. "Things like asbestos and just mundane things you don't think about having around your home like your propane tank or fertilizer or pesticides or bleach -- when it gets burned up some things can become toxic and some can become explosive."

The EPA needs permission to go onto properties to dispose of this sort of waste, and they're doing it for free.

"(We're taking) any sort of petroleum product, acids, bases, any sort of ammunition that we might find that's still active compressed cylinders like propane or acetylene," said Randy Nattis with the EPA.

More than 400 landowners have agreed to let them, and they're holding out for about 150 more.

If a landowner denies the EPA the right to enter, they will be responsible for disposing of the debris themselves. If they are caught with hazardous waste, the DEQ will fine them. The right of entry form can be found on Lane County's website.

The Eugene Water & Electric Board is also monitoring high-risk properties.

"We want to prevent any of the burnt debris including toxic ash from getting into the McKenzie River," said a spokesperson with EWEB.

EWEB serves almost 5,000 customers in the McKenzie River Valley.

The river is also EWEB's main source of drinking water

If debris were to get into the river, it's treatable, but preventing that is the goal as opposed to treat the water after the fact.

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