Category Archives: Point Source Polluters

Industries that pollute the Cully neighborhood.

CAAT Written Testimony on CAO Risk Hazard Assessments

Owens-Brockway, Portland, OR.

Updated July 2019, original April 14, 2019 

Cully Air Action Telemetry (CAAT)

Regarding Section 7.1.b of SB 1541 of CAO

Severe human health effects should comprise individual as well as additive effects.

‘Severe’ should be an indication that is a causative for any negative health effects

Since these toxins, many of which are synthetic and do not exist in the natural environment, affect the human system in negative ways, causing potentially permanent injury, they should all be considered severe. The bee sting analogy (OHA) does not really work for me. No one willingly seeks to be stung, even if bee venom is a non-synthetic irritant for which the majority of the population is only going to receive a minor irritation. The sting is still severe in its delivery, and of course one can literally be stung to death. Yellow jackets? Killer Bees? What about yellowish airstreams and killer polluters? Are both acute instances and chronic exposure ‘severe’? I think so. And who knows what the emissions are, at what levels and how concentrated, and any potential densities of exposure? Polluters are, after all, allowed to self-report emission inventories and releases. Are they always being honest? Ever hear of Sapa defrauding NASA for the last 20 years? 

Human sensitivity is not the same as acute physical injury. Severe should be construed as a causative for any negative health effects. In the same way, hydrogen fluoride may be a different hazard than selenium, and have a different TRV, but chronic exposure to selenium will have a severe effect on human system including vision loss, paralysis, cardiovascular, hepatic and renal effects.

The State must protect the health of the community. At least, that is what I say to myself each November when I pay my property taxes. And, when someone moves into a community, they may not even be aware that different emissions from polluting industries will have a severe effect on their health and the health of the wider community, or have the base knowledge that something is wrong with that smokestack across the street. The headaches and coughing, the kids nightmares and bloody noses, may not be severe in some peoples views, but over time….

So, Option 1, the choice that offers widest protection statute for the health and well-being of the local community, and the adjacent communities is the only choice.

And, industry should not be allowed to slow this process down. The people of Oregon have already decided they want to live in cleaner and healthier environment.

**********************

Comments on the Draft Recommended Procedures for Conducting Toxic Air Containment Health Risk Assessments (TACHRA)

Overall, the TACHRA document provides a comprehensive and detailed framework for Oregon-based polluting industries to perform a series of tasks that will allow them to continue to pollute and endanger local residents and fauna, and poison flora, waterways, and land.

These areas of concern came up for me as I read though this document:

1: Allowing industries to self-assess with little or no oversight from DEQ, or any other State Agencies, is an open invitation for fraud, and for unscrupulous companies to provide skewed data.

2: Public involvement in both this process and the process of determining RAL’s and Adjusted RAL’s is virtually non-existent (post-SB 1541), and so removes the affected population from joining the debate to protect their own health, lands, and air.

3: Many determinative effects and resultative actions remain undefined or unclear, including what, if any, penalties exist for providing false data, for operating illegal un-permitted sites, and for polluters who repeatedly break the law and violate health standards.

4: Are any businesses or industries or other entities that release dangerous pollutants into the air exempt from RAL’s?

5: Why are so few actions and solutions being implemented to actually reduce health risks to the public?

If self-assessment by polluters remains the only reporting mechanism, Level Three and Four Risk Assessments should be required when community complaints reach a threshold of consistency over time and scope. For example, if DEQ or other State Agencies receive a set number of complaints over a six-month time period for a particular and unique nuisance, the local polluter must do a verifiable Level There or Level Four Risk Assessment within a reasonable period of time. Verification can be conducted by the State or an independent and reputable third-party. Because of the immediacy of complaints from the public, a venue for public input needs to be implemented so both the State and the polluter hear from the community on the effects of the pollution. The resolution of pollution problems must rely on public participation as much as, if not more than, industry self-assessment since the likelihood of under-reporting of toxin release by polluters is well established, historically and locally. In the case of invisible or unnoticeable toxins, local health effects should also be considered as a determinate factor in assessment using local epidemiological reporting by clinics, schools, and others. 

Again, the result of self-assessment leaves the pollution, and resultant health burden, on the public and is not a verifiable quantification of pollutant releases. To be equitable, the public must be made aware of, and be included in the process of determining, the dangers of living and raising children near polluting industries and businesses. 

Going through the TACHRA document:

In section 2.1, page three, paragraph five, regarding the final sentence: Are cancer burdens assumed, or are they statistical from OHA and other Agencies data, or other sources? If polluters are clustered together, as they are in the Cully neighborhood in Portland, statistical data from OHA, health providers, and schools would be more relevant than assumed cancer rates.

In Section 2.2.1, page five: For polluters within 2 km of a school, Level 3 or Level 4 Screening Risk Assessments should be mandated given the susceptibility of young people to pollution related chronic and other illnesses. In general, ELAF should be prioritized.

In Section 2.2.2, and in general: While Mutlipathway Factors already include agricultural land and bodies of water where fishing takes place, wetlands need to also be considered as they are incubator zones for many species, including endangered species. Given methane outgassing from wetlands, another method should be established for monitoring wetlands habitats, perhaps tissue sampling of indicator species.

Section 2.3: The Risk Assessment Process needs to be more community inclusive with the public more engaged. Perhaps a community complaint designation for the polluter of ‘high complaint level’ (many complaints) or ‘low complaint level’ (few or no complaints) for areas zoned for residential use in the vicinity of the polluter needs to be designed. The public should be informed of this ‘complaint level’ during the Risk Assessment Process.

Section 2.4.1: Under Modeling Protocol, page nine, bullet point one, include ‘sensitive wildlife areas.’

Section 3.1.1: Polluters estimating pollutant emission rates compounds the main problem with the Draft TACHRA regarding the dangers of industry self-assessment, as stated previously. Polluters have made a mockery of self-assessment and fostered corrupt practices at the State level, and this has all been well documented by media outlets, independent scholars, and environmental activists over decades of research and investigation. Allowing polluters to “assess toxic air contamination emission at the capacity to emit” (3.1.1, bullet point 2) just provides one more level of distortion for unscrupulous operators. A better way may exist in examining chemical intake manifests and determining where toxic compounds, and elements, go after being processed by the industry. For example, if a company is receiving 1000 .lbs of methyl chloride a mechanism should be created to account for the use, synthesis, and release of the dangerous chemical emissions or byproducts into the local environment. Needless to say, any hazardous residues must be disposed of properly. This is a more responsive methodology to local health concerns and contamination than relying on the ‘capacity to emit’ method. 

In terms of Adjusted Hazard Index RAL’s (page 14), public participation and community inclusion with EQC Advisory is crucial. Developmental effects from pollutants are recognized in the Draft TACRA but need to be prioritized, especially for mutagenic contaminants [e.g Cr(VI)]. There is a critical need for verifiable assessment and containment of mutagenic pollutants. Marginalized and other frontline communities deserve special protection, outreach, and inclusion given neonatal care concerns (access, affordability, education, language, etc.) Any development of higher index numbers should necessitate more robust pollution containment procedures. 

Section 3.2, page 16, paragraph two: Why does ‘Fugitive Emissions at Stage One’ not include on-site truck transportation emissions and spillage?

Section 3.3, page 17, paragraph three: Simple modeling for one hour extrapolated to a 24-hour emission footprint is an invitation to provide skewed data and perpetuate fraud. A more reasonable approach would include either Level 3/4 Screening Risk Assessment, or on-site 24-hour modeling for a multi-month long sampling period.

Section 3.4, page 17, paragraph seven: The public needs to be informed of, and invited to, any and all meetings between DEQ and the polluter.

Section 3.5: Title V facilities and industries that use or produce criteria pollutants, or highly toxic PBT’s, should be mandated to perform Level Four Screening Risk Assessments. PBT emitting, or production, facilities and industries should have mandated TBACT to eliminate or minimize toxin releases into the environment. Public notice and inclusion here are crucial. 

The State has spent considerable time and resources defining explicit Risk Action Levels. However, communities should not be forced to trade or relinquish their health safety, or the health safety of their animals, lands, agricultural products and consumable garden foods, or the health of local flora and fauna for any increased risk that comes from CAO Risk Action Level permitting. Unless enforcement of environmental quality regulations and clear consequences for pollution violations are codified within the TACHRA, including enforceable sanctions, mandatory retrofits and filtering using TBACT (e.g. thermal oxidizers, scrubbers, containment housing, and electrostatic filters), substantial monetary penalties, or shut-downs, then TACHRA will not be a sufficient protection for the people and environs of Oregon. As mentioned earlier, the States’ and Agencies reliance on unsubstantiated and unverifiable self-assessments from polluters may very well allow for a return to past practices where DEQ functioned more as a bystander, aware that something was going on with some toxic pollution release and contamination, but unable or unwilling to take any action, rather than a functioning regulatory agency charged with protecting the health of the people of Oregon, or the Oregon environment.

CAAT provides written comment on HB 2007 (diesel)

Oregon’s diesel engines need to be updated to modern standard technology

Comments regarding HB2007 

from Cully Air Action Telemetry – CAAT (cullycleanair.org)and the Cully Association of Neighbors – CAN (www.cullyneighbors.org)

Dear Chair Helm, Vice Chair Reschke, Vice Chair Schouten and Members of the Committee:

In the Cully community of NE Portland, diesel pollution is a serious nuisance and a dangerous pollutant. The Cully community is a very diverse one, including elderly homeowners and retirees, new families starting out with first homes and their first children, immigrant families fleeing war and terror, Native American and other minority populations, and working homeowners and renters. We have done a great deal, collectively, to make our community into a vibrant and protective place for residents, gardens, and animals. Many Cully residents take great pains to insure their food gardens and yards are pesticide free and organic. The same is true for neighbors who have beehives, chickens, pigs, goats and even a few alpaca. All of these are impacted by PM, soot, and diesel pollutants in ways dangerous to individual, livestock, and property health and safety. 

As currently impacted, Cully sits amidst many transportation corridors, including Interstate 205, State Route 30, Columbia Highway, the UP east-west rail-line that BNSF uses, and PDX international Airport. These all combine to create a huge amount of PM, soot, and other diesel pollutants.

Cully, and adjacent local neighborhoods, also include many Title One public schools that are directly affected by PM pollutants, including Prescott St. Elementary, Helensview Alternative High School, NAYA Early College Academy, Sacajawea Head Start, and many other schools for the youth and toddlers in our communities. It is true that our neighborhood is becoming stronger and cleaner, especially now that the State and agencies are recognizing our diversity as a strength, and the fact that our community was formerly designated as a place to sacrifice environmental health and sustainability for industrial growth, but diesel pollution continues to be unaddressed and to create significant risk for all of the community and her members. 

Over the last few decades we have all seen the shifting of overland transportation to include a greater amount of long-haul medium and heavy-duty trucks using diesel engines. Unfortunately, it seems our State legislators somehow forgot to insist that transportation and construction companies utilize technological upgrades for their diesel engines and insure a cleaner fuel burn/exhaust pollutant ratio. This was a technological development that Oregonians could have benefited from, especially in these current days of high health-care costs and increasing Special Education services needed in our public schools, but that we somehow missed and failed to implement. As I am sure you all aware, Oregon lags behind the other West Coast American states in providing this diesel pollutant relief to Oregon’s residents. Why that happened is matter of debate, I suppose, and yet here and now is when and where we can actually rectify and correct this dangerous situation and excessive release of PM, soot, and other diesel pollutants. 

HB 2007 is a welcome effort to address the dangerous health implications from excessive PM, soot, and other diesel pollutants. The state needs to incorporate standards to insure diesel operators use the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) in their engines, at least at the same level as the West Coast states. This should be immediately mandated for all companies with fleets larger than 50 medium and/or heavy-duty diesel trucks, construction companies, and mandated for smaller (less than 50) operators as quickly as possible.

Further additions to this bill in the form of Amendments should include provisions for the State to enforce a no-idling rule for trains and trucks and allow citizens to monitor and report on illegalities, as well as repealing ORS 825.615. 

An Amendment to mandate that all public and private development projects, near a community larger than 10,000 people, limit diesel pollutant release to show periods of time not to exceed two hours unless occupational safety is indicated.should also be included. Given the negative health effects of diesel pollution on human health, including asthma, bronchitis, reduced immune system functions, emphysema, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit (hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/ADHD), and cancer, company’s with more than 50 medium and heavy-duty diesel trucks need to maintain environmental liability insurance so that the state does not have to pay for legal issues arising from the negative medical effects of any excessive state-sponsored pollution levels in the future.

CAN, The Cully Association of Neighbors, and CAAT, Cully Air Action Telemetry, urge legislators to strengthen and pass this important Bill, HB 2007, and implement the rulings as soon as possible. 

CAN and CAAT are community organizations based in the Cully neighborhood NE Portland, Oregon, and reflect the needs of local residents regarding community issues. 

Thank you, 

Cully Association of Neighbors

Cully Air Action Telemetry

CAAT testifies on SB 792 (NW Metals)

NorthWest Metals, 7600 NE Killingsworth St Portland OR 97218

Senate Bill 792 was designed to address the NW Metals fire 2018. CAAT submitted this written testimony:

Written Comments to Oregon Legislative Assembly regarding

Senate Bill 792

March 12, 2019

The NW Metals catastrophic fire one year ago on March 12, 2018 caused physical and psychological harm, and property destruction, and led to a mandatory evacuation of residents in the Cully community. Hazardous wastes, from burning solid-waste stored haphazardly on-site, became airborne and settled over a wide area to the west of the facility, including public schools, community and individual local agricultural gardens, private yards, and public parks. Hazardous waste and fire extinguishing fluids from the site were not contained and most likely entered into the local watershed, already compromised by decades of under-regulated industrial contamination. 

The Cully community and the outlying environs have a number of unregulated solid waste storage facilities and auto-dismantlers, also known as ‘chop shops’. No one is sure of the actual number since it seems many of these polluters are not regulated. These unregulated polluters continue to negatively affect the health of the community and diminish property values. These unregulated polluters are also negatively affecting the health of local wildlife populations and continue to complicate the clean-up of existing polluted waterways, including the Columbia Slough watershed, by improperly storing and containing solid wastes and hazardous wastes, spills, catastrophic releases, and illegal dumping. 

As the community suffered through the NW Metals catastrophic fire and airborne toxic event, we turned for relief to Oregon DEQ and to our Oregon state legislators. We have asked state Agencies to regulate these facilities and perform investigatory actions, levy fines, and aggressively pursue polluters and shut them down if they refuse to implement protective practices to stop public exposure to hazardous wastes. We have asked legislators to impose conditions on the permitting of polluters to provide a buffer zone between them and community households. As a frontline community with many low-income neighbors, families with children, elderly residents on fixed incomes, first-time homeowners, new immigrant/refugee families, and a vibrant new housing development economy, the community expressed frustration with the existing state apparatus for protecting our health and well-being and expressed an alacrity for implementation of changes that would allow existing laws and regulations to be acted upon. We are, a year plus later, still waiting for state relief from these known dangers, created by under-regulated and unregulated solid-waste storage companies, auto-dismantlers, and chop shops. 

The Amendments to SB 792 begin to address some of these concerns but not to  address the existing problem. In other words, members of the community are well aware of the problems that exist and still await action from the State Agency’s to insure the health and well-being of local residents and the health of the local wildlife and ground water supplies. Furthermore, as environmental contamination and resultant health maladies become more evident, due to past regulatory and Agency failures, CAAT (Cully Air Action Telemetry) and CAN (Cully Association of Neighbors) encourage the state to revisit this piece of legislation and improve it to create an enforceable SB that serves the people and communities of Oregon, including protecting their health from existing and future toxic contamination, rather than create a ‘paper tiger’ that maintains the same levels of past inadequacy, or worse, that reflects the well-documented influence of industries financial contributions rather than the well-being of the people.

In regards to the particular language designations and constraints of SB 792 (2019) Amendments CAAT (Cully Air Action Telemetry), and CAN (Cully Association of Neighbors), urge legislators to correct the following, and to insert the additional items, described below:

Proposed Amendments to SB 792 requested by Representative KOTEK (v. 3.11.2019)

Section 1 (1) Line 7 Insert

…ORS 822.110, except for ORS 822.110 Section (2) (a) and (b),…

Section 1 (2) Line 13 Insert

…of Transportation, after public notice and consultation with community groups, tribal groups, and other affected parties. Public Notice will be financed in toto by company or individuals requesting site expansion.

Section 1 (d) Page 2, Line 15. Change 

(d) Maintains a current bond that meets the requirements under ORS 822.120. 

to

(d) Increase the current bond by amending ORS  822.120 written guarantee to $500,000.00

Section 1  New Item. Insert after (d) Page 2, Line 15.

(e) Maintain verifiable environmental liability insurance.

(d- The existing $500 ‘written guarantee’ is a joke, right? It has to be. It is merely a signal to polluters that it is cheaper to create toxic plumes and illegal solid-waste dumps, pay the fine, and walk away than be a responsible neighbor to local communities. Oregon DEQ has repeatedly stated to the community that they do not have the resources to do their job, so increasing the ‘written guarantee’ within OSR 822.120 becomes a priority, or,

e- Mandatory, verifiable environmental liability insurance needs to be codified within existing regulatory framework, just the same as any Oregon resident is required to have auto liability insurance if they choose to drive an automobile, because industry has proven over and over again that ‘gaming the system’ at taxpayers expense is an acceptable part of a business model in the State of Oregon. Prior incompetence by state Agencies has also allowed polluting industries to create and exploit loopholes, or flat-out ignore environmental responsibilities with little of no consequence.)

Section 4 New Item(s) (9) and (10) page 5 Line 11. Insert

(9) Either enter into a Prospective Purchaser Agreements (PPAs) with DEQ, publicly noticed to adjacent communities for public  comment before implementation, or, 

(10) Earmark not less than 5% of company’s total gross receipts to an Orphan Sites Account (OSA) Contaminated Site cleanup fund.

(These two items may be combined, but it is crucial that the State allows and directs Agency’s to create a framework for responsible practices for polluting industries, and to allow public participation in the design of PPA’s. The OSA, if it still exists in Oregon’s state framework, should be pre-loaded by polluting industries rather than rely on future taxpayer revenue. IF OSA has sunset, then a new Orphan Fund for solid-waste auto dismantles and storage facility needs to be created.)

Section 7 (h) (4) Page 6, Line 13. Change

Change “may” to “shall”

Please make these changes and alert CAAT, and the constituency that you have done so.

Cully Air Action Telemetry – CAAT (formerly Cully Air Action Team)

Cully Association of Neighbors – CAN

Final Comments to DEQ regarding local polluter Owens-Brockway permit

Owens-Brockway, 5850 Ne 92nd Dr, Portland, OR 97220

Owens-Brockway, 5850 Ne 92nd Dr, Portland, OR 97220

Comments on the Draft Title V Operating Permit for Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc., Permit No. 26-1876-TV-01

In these final comments from the Cully Air Action Team (CAAT), on the permitting of the Owens-Brockway facility site, CAAT re-emphasizes the need for independently verifiable testing and monitoring of pollutant releases for the plant, rather than the current industry provided data, or, projections based on company-reported data. CAAT also insists that DEQ uses its authority to protect the local community’s health by insisting the Owens-Brockway facility install TBACT filters on all dangerous airborne release vectors within the Owens-Brockway site.

CAAT would also like to remind the Oregon DEQ and OHA that if the state does not assume authoritative control over regulation and subsequent negative health effects of ambient metals, HAPs, and other toxic releases from Owens-Brockway, that the state becomes an active participant in harming the community, the population, and local wildlife.

After eight days of air quality registering over 50 and at times close to 100 in terms of the PM 2.5 Air Quality Index, according to the DEQ Helensview monitor (October 16-24, 2018), it is clear that Cully residents being subjected to a toxic stew of nuisance odors, PM, and unfiltered HAPs. These airborne pollutants may includied Chromium, Lead, benzene, and other carcinogens and developmentally dangerous pollutants released from the Owens-Brockway site. During a recent stoppage of the Owens-Brockway facility due to disrupted natural gas supplies, the air was noticeably cleaner and the Helensview monitor indicated that (October 10-15, 2018). The nuisance odors, and the less noticeable toxicity leading to negative health and developmental effects on vulnerable populations, including newborns and elderly, are occurring again, now that the Owens-Brockway facility is up and running. There are three schools, and many gardens and fruits trees, and many families and low-income neighborhoods within a mile of this polluter, Owens-Brockway.

The Owens-Brockway site lacks TBACT filters and DEQ needs to mandate TBACT filters on all furnaces and stacks as a condition for reissuing this permit. The Hazard Index being experienced by local communities from Owens-Brockway pollutant releases must be recognized and protections enforced by state agencies, including Oregon DEQ. Waiting for severe health effects, including death, cancer, and CNS-related childhood ailments from the chronic exposures and synergistic effects of numerous pollutants, would be a terrible crime inflicted by the state on the vulnerable communities living and attending public schools near the Owens-Brockway site. It would also be a continuation of the previous disregard the state of Oregon has inflicted on poor communities and vulnerable and racially-mixed populations.

Again, the severe and negative health effects from the pollutants released from Owens-Brockway unfiltered furnace stacks and hazardous waste management are occurring now. These effects are falling onto and are being breathed in by pregnant women, children, the elderly, community residents, and local fish and wildlife populations subjected to the chemical and ambient metal pollution from the Owens-Brockway facility.

Given the opportunity for exercising authority to protect the health of the people of the state of Oregon, DEQ must insist that issuance of a new permit for Owens-Brockway includes the installation of TBACT filters to filter out the dangerous poisons this company releases on a daily basis into the community, and independent and verifiable monitoring of pollutants from the facility.

Owens-Brockway Public Hearing Wednesday, September 19th

 

OwensBrockwayPollutionPermit_DEQMeeting

Owens-Brockway at 9710 NE Glass Plant Road, Portland, OR 97220  releases at least 300 pounds of Lead into the air every year, and released  213 pounds of Chromium in 2016. The company has been fined for sloppy hazardous wast management practices. The facility operates two burners and only one has a fabric filtering device. On Monday, September 10 2018, a fire at the facility resulted in a loss of power. During the power outage, process water flooded the basement and mixed with some oil. Some of the oily water discharged to the stormwater system and made it to Johnson Lake.

The facility is currently up for a renewal of their Title V permit, and Oregon DEQ wants your input. Please attend this meeting at NAYA Family Center, 5135 NE Columbia Blvd., Portland, OR. 97218, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 6:30 pm.

Publlc comments can be made at this meeting, or you can submit comments written by 10/26/2018 (CAAT got an extension) to:

Edith McMorrine
AQ Permit Coordinator
700 NE Multnomah St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97232
503-229-6945         nwraqpermits@deq.state.or.us

Here are some Talking Points:

This meeting will take place on Wednesday September 19, 2018 at NAYA Family Center, 5135 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR. 97218. The meeting will start at 6:30 pm.

Owens-Brockway Glass Container, Inc., a subsidiary of Owens-Illinois (O-I), is located at 9710 NE Glass Plant Road, Portland, OR 97220. Owens-Brockway is a Title V (Title 5) polluter. As such, they are at the highest regulatory level, primarily because of their release of Criteria Pollutants such as Lead and Sulfur Dioxide. 

1: Owens-Brockway released 300 pounds of ambient (airborne) Lead in 2016. 

Lead can accumulate in the body, particularly in bones. Lead can cause brain damage, reproductive problems, high-blood pressure, kidney disease, and nervous disorders.

2: Owens-Brockway released 213 pounds of Chromium in 2016. Chromium has different forms, and there are many negative health effects associated with chromium exposure, including asthma and chronic bronchitis. Chromium6 is a carcinogen.

3: There are three Public Schools within one mile of the Owens-Brockway facility:

◆ Prescott St. Elementary in Parkrose School District
◆ Helensview Alternative High School, Multnomah Education Service District
◆ Sacajawea Headstart, Portland Public Schools

The children, teachers, education workers, and para-educators who attend and work at these schools deserve better protection from industrial pollutants.

4: Owens-Brockway currently only uses one fabric filter on one of their burners. They should be using the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) to filter out dangerous pollutants, such as a wet-bag filtering unit, on all of their polluting burners.

5: Owens-Brockway has been fined by DEQ this year for shoddy hazardous waste control. Where did that hazardous waste end up? Did it go into Johnson Lake, just north of Owens-Brockway, and then into the Columbia Slough?

6: Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO) is still being worked on. It is wrong to permit a Title V industrial polluter before CAO is on the books.

7: Other issues: 

  Gardening/Farming and metal contamination; 

  Diminished Property Values

Environmental Justice (Cully has many different and diverse populations, and income levels. Polluting facilities are often located in these types of neighborhoods, by design, because of prior or current racist practices); 

➢ The new Thomas Cully Park, that the city and county spent a whole bunch of money cleaning up, is very close to the pollution source, Owens-Brockway.

 

Letter sent to Owens-Brockway/Owens-Illinois

CAAT penned a letter to local polluter Owens-Brockway, and their parent corporation Owens-Illinois (O-I), regarding their polluting ways. Their permit for polluting Oregon is up for renewal this year. DEQ will have a public hearing on Wednesday, September 19th at NAYA (more on this later.) Thank you to  Portland Clean Air,  East Portland Air Coalition, Verde, Neighbors for Clean Air, and PDX North Harbor Neighbors for signing onto this letter with CAAT.

CAAT Letter to O-I

Our local Oregon State Senators and Reps decided to write their own letter as well, so the pressure is on.

Owens-Brockway_Legislative Letter

Thank You Speaker Tina Kotek,  Representative Barbara Smith Warner,  Representative Tawna Sanchez,  State Senator Lew Frederick, and  State Senator Michael Dembrow for your letter to Owens-Brockway/Owens-Illinois!

O-I, cut your lead and chromium emission down to less than 1% of your current pollution emissions.

 

Oregonian highlights the problem with Owens Brockway

Rob Davis of The Oregonian penned this excellent article.

Owens-Brockway Illinois, June 2018

The article is about lead and other toxic releases from the Owens-Brockway Illinois glass recycling facility near Killingsworth and 205 in the Parkrose /Cully/Sumner neighborhoods of Portland, Ore.  There are three public schools within less than one mile from the facility, and those children are at risk from the ambient lead emissions. So far, Owens-Brockway has refused to install filters or containment bags.

Owens-Brockway’s pollution permits are up for renewal this summer. CAAT will be working with Oregon DEQ to get Owens-Brockway to clean up their pollutant releases. Stay tuned!

Porter Yett to introduce new filtering device

Porter Yett, the asphalt manufacturing facility on Cully Blvd between Portland Highway and Columbia, is the largest source of community nuisance odors complaints to DEQ locally, and one of the main concerns for CAAT in terms of focus. Their releases of noxious odors have long plagued the neighborhood. CAAT has been working with DEQ to pressure the company to take some responsibility for these contaminants and health effects, and to mitigate the odors.

It is with a sense of optimism, tempered by skepticism, that we welcome Porter Yett’s announcement that they will be using a new containment and filtering system called Blue Smoke Control to mitigate odors. Blue Smoke Control seems a promising and innovative system. The new Control system provides a more robust filtering system than the previous odor removal systems used by Porter Yett.

From the company brochure it seems that all production areas, from the entry of aggregate into the boilers for heating, to off-loading the finished asphalt into trucks will be in containment and toxic fumes filtered. Whether or not this truly ameliorates the problems of nuisance odors and toxicity release remains to be seen, or smelled. But CAAT is hopeful that Porter Yett’s initiative on mitigating the stench does work, and we applaud the company for moving to install this technology.

CAAT will continue to closely monitor this new development as the spring and summer paving season, with high asphalt production volumes, commences. It will still remain important for community members to file complaints about any noxious odors with DEQ, so that we at CAAT can follow-up and pressure DEQ into actionable response.

Is Porter Yett polluting Cully’s air?

pyett_pile
Porter Yett’s pile of toxic materials

CAAT has been working with various state agencies over the past year, reviewing permits and rules, following up on complaints and installing monitors to test for and affirm previous heavy metal contaminations of the Cully area. Last month CAAT received the first round of monitoring data. While the monitors are not testing for VOCs or PM, the results show an alarming spike in nickel from September 26-29th, 2016. In particular, the reading for September 29th was roughly ten times the average for the rest of the months readings. This spike may be an isolated incident dependent on faulty calibration of the monitoring equipment, machine failure, or another cause yet it may also be indicative of a pattern  for spikes in heavy metal contamination. That is why we are insisting that DEQ continue monitoring the quality of the air in the Cully region throughout the next few months.

deq_monitor1
DEQ Air Monitor in Cully

Here are the readings:

DEQ Benchmark for Nickel:  4 micrograms per cubic meter, µg/m3. (the amount considered to be safe and acceptable)

General monthly average: .728 µg/m3  (from 10.2 aggregate divided by 14 daily readings)

Nickel spike readings:

9/26/2016 reading    1.57 µg/m3

9/27/2016 reading    2.58 µg/m3

9/28/2016 reading    7.32 µg/m3

9/29/2016 reading    1.33 µg/m3

Clearly, something was happening with nickel distribution into the Cully airshed during this time.

pdt_datareport_102716
DEQ Monitoring Data for Cully location Sept. 2016

So, what is nickel anyways? From Wikipedia via the great website Dynamic Periodic Table:

“Most of the nickel absorbed every day by humans is removed by the kidneys and passed out of the body through urine or is eliminated through the gastrointestinal tract without being absorbed. Nickel is not a cumulative poison, but larger doses or chronic exposure may be toxic, even carcinogenic, and constitute an occupational hazard.

In the US, the minimal risk level of nickel and its compounds is set to 0.2 µg/m3 for inhalation during 15–364 days. Nickel sulfide fume and dust are believed carcinogenic, and various other nickel compounds may be as well. Nickel carbonyl [Ni(CO) is an extremely toxic gas. The toxicity of metal carbonyls is a function of both the toxicity of the metal and the off-gassing of carbon monoxide from the carbonyl functional groups; nickel carbonyl is also explosive in air.

People can be exposed to nickel in the workplace by inhalation, ingestion, and contact with skin or eye. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set the legal limit (permissible exposure limit) for the workplace at 1 mg/m3 per 8-hour workday, excluding nickel carbonyl. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) specifies the recommended exposure limit (REL) of 0.015 mg/m3 per 8-hour workday. At 10 mg/m3, nickel is immediately dangerous to life and health.” (mg stands for milligrams. 1000 µg = 1 mg.)

How is nickel used in industrial processes?

“Major man-made sources of release of nickel are the combustion of coal and heavy fuel oil. Emissions from refineries and from refinery products (including road tar) are particularly important because of the large amount of refinery fuel oil and residues burnt which contain nickel from the original crude oil. Other sources include emissions from mining and refining operations, municipal waste incineration, and windblown dust. ”  from pollution.unibuc.ro/?substance=22

We know that the Porter Yett facility burns Tar Sands oil regularly, creating nuisance odors over wide areas of Cully. We also know that Tar Sands contains nickel:  “bitumen in the Canadian oil sands contains Vanadium, Nickel, and other metals in significantly larger quantities than occur in most other oils.” Could there be a connection here? Finding the cause of these spikes, the ‘attributable source’, is part of the mystery that confounds DEQ under it’s present regulatory limitations. If the polluter does not admit and list their releases it is difficult to assign blame. There is no obvious ‘smoking gun.’ This makes continued monitoring essential as we attempt to make the Cully airshed safer for everyone and everything that breathes. CAAT will also request DEQ data on any complaints filed concerning asphalt odors during the last week of September 2016. By comparing community complaints with contaminant spikes we may be able ascertain the source and move into the regulatory area where we can stop the contamination from continuing to occur.