DEQ and OHA Presentation to Cully association of Neighbors regarding Owens-brockway

April 13, 2021

Key takeaways:
Owens.-Brockway has not made any upgrades to their facilities.

Owens-Brockway is releasing 597 lbs of lead (Pb), 192 lbs of arsenic, and maybe as much as 101000 tons of CO2 annually from their Portland facility.

DEQ wants people to let them know by April 30 of any parks where people gather, day-schools, or other areas where people are within 2 km (about a mile and half) from the facility.

An ‘immediate curtailment’ of operations may be enforceable under Cleaner Air Oregon regulations, especially if you ask DEQ and politicians for that.

Here is CAAT’s April 15 response to DEQ staff:

I feel the discussion at Tuesday nights, CAN meeting went well enough, although the elevated risk associated with the Arsenic and Lead (Pb) numbers is very concerning. It seems, once again, that Owens-Brockway has not been honest about the level of toxins they are introducing into the NE Portland environment. 

The areas of public gatherings within 2 km of the facility are known, or easy to find, and it should be emphasized that given the meteorological nature of NE Portland along the Columbia River Valley, dispersal of these dangerous toxins must be more widespread than the 2km perimeter, and that is not necessarily a good thing given the long-lived nature of these toxins, the already high levels of arsenic in urban area soil, and bioaccumalation of the neurotoxin lead (Pb). 

At this point, the Cully Air Action Team is asking for an ‘immediate curtailment’ of operations at the Owens-Brockway facility under Cleaner Air Oregon given the new numbers from the most current risk inventory assessment. Owens-Brockway has refused to install any viable filtering technology, despite numerous asks from the community to do so.

As Portland Clean Air has determined:
“Annual airborne arsenic: 192 lbsIf the modeling stays the same as the Level I Screening then the cancer risk for neighbors would be 26,899 per millionIf the modeling stays the same as the Level I Screening then the noncancer chronic risk is a hazard index of 3,792

Annual airborne lead is 597 lbsIf the modeling stays the same as the Level I Screening then the noncancer acute risk is a hazard index of 90
These are extraordinarily high numbers compared to … other Portland industries.Under Cleaner Air Oregon, The worst risk allowed would be existing facilities with Best Available Control Technology or who are in compliance with a National Emission Standards for Hazardous AirPollutants order, are allowed to emit air contaminants which will result in no more than 200 cancers per million people and have a Hazard Index no higher than 10.”

Cully Air Action Team is aware of Agency limitations but this is a clear example of how Cleaner Air Oregon was designed to be implemented to protect the health of Oregonians from excessive and dangerous air pollution from a single point-source polluter, in this case Owens-Brockway.

As you know, the Cully community has been harmed by industrial pollution excess in the past, and given the changing demographics of new arriving families moving into this still relatively affordable area, where BIPOC and new low-income housing are welcomed and new housing is being constructed, it is critical that DEQ act swiftly under CAO to initiate the ‘immediate curtailment’ of industrial operations at Owens-Brockway and any further contamination of the local environment.