DEQ announces cleanup plan for J.H. Baxter plant in Eugene

The announcement comes after some Eugene residents reported a mysterious odor earlier this month that Lane Regional Air Protection Agency officials said was traced back to the wood treatment plant.

Posted: Oct 25, 2019 12:38 PM
Updated: Oct 28, 2019 12:44 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has finalized a cleanup plan for contamination at the J.H. Baxter & Co. wood treatment plant in Eugene.

State officials said the 31-acre site has been a wood treatment facility since the early 1940s and cleanup has been underway since the 1990s. The new plan will make current measures permanent and will require the plant to fully address remaining contamination.

Included in the new plan are requirements to maintain a groundwater treatment system to keep contamination from spreading off site, regular sampling, and addressing contaminated soil.

The DEQ said contamination is due to spills over the decades at the site. The groundwater is contaminated by pentachlorophenol and the soil is contaminated with dioxins, furans, arsenic and two components of creosote.

RELATED: ODOR TRACED TO EUGENE WOOD TREATMENT PLANT, OFFICIALS SAY; LAW FIRM INVESTIGATES

J.H. Baxter will be required to install a stabilization cover over the ground and a liner in the stormwater pond.

Officials with J.H. Baxter & Co. issued the following statement:

"We are pleased to have a signed Record of Decision to remediate the Eugene plant site. This cleanup will be a lasting solution to soil contamination which had occurred earlier in the plant operations starting in the 1940s. J.H. Baxter has been working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for a number of years to reach what we consider to be the best solution to address the remaining contamination."

In the J.H. Baxter statement, Carpenters Local 3091 President Marvin Owens said:

“I’ve worked here since the early 1980s and have seen a lot of environmental improvements over the years. There have been a lot of changes over the years. We strive to work together to make conditions better for everybody.”

The plan comes after some Eugene residents reported a mysterious odor earlier this month that Lane Regional Air Protection Agency officials said was traced back to the wood treatment plant.

Lawyers from a private Washington, DC-based law firm announced they were building a case for a possible lawsuit against the company.

For more information about the DEQ's plan, click here.

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