State announces actions in NE Portland scrapyard cleanup

September 5, 2018

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality this week announced enforcement actions it has taken at NW Metals, the site of a scrap yard fire this March.

Enforcement and regulation

DEQ issued a $52,854 penalty last week to NW Metals’ owner and operator for violating environmental laws and ordered the company to correct outstanding violations. DEQ ordered NW Metals to take the following specific actions:

  • Manage waste tires: NW Metals must either remove waste tires from the property or meet DEQ requirements for properly managing tire piles. NW Metals must also apply for a waste tire permit if it stores more than 1,500 waste tires. The company has until October 1 to complete this order.

  • Manage stormwater: NW Metals must stop allowing stormwater to enter drywells, known as underground injection control devises, and submit a plan to DEQ that describes how the company will manage stormwater at the facility. Deadline for submitting the plan is October 1.

  • Obtain an air quality permit: NW Metals operates a piece of equipment called a shredder that cuts apart cars and other materials so they can be recycled. NW Metals must apply for an air quality permit to install and operate the shredder. While the permit application is underway, NW Metals is allowed to operate the shredder in accordance with the cleanup order.

  • Complete timely cleanup: NW Metals has completed some requirements in DEQ’s cleanup order, but hasn’t met all requirements. NW Metals must clear all cars, tires and other materials from the site by September 7 and complete soil sample collection by September 14. Find more information in the warning letter DEQ issued on August 21.

Cleanup progress

In the cleanup order DEQ issued on March 27, DEQ required NW Metals to sample groundwater and soil on and nearby the site to determine the extent of the cleanup needed. NW Metals has hired an environmental contractor in accordance with the cleanup order, and DEQ approved the contractor’s work plan on July 12. The environmental contractor has collected water and soil samples from the drywells (underground water collection systems that received stormwater from the site and firefighting runoff from the fire), and has also sampled soil at the immediately adjacent properties. DEQ is currently analyzing preliminary sample results.

NW Metals has installed a new shredder to cut apart cars into scrap so they can be removed from the site and recycled. Following that, the contractor will remove surface debris and then collect additional soil samples on the property. The cleanup work is being performed under DEQ oversight, which will continue until all activity described in the cleanup order is complete.

Future updates

DEQ will continue to keep interested community members informed of progress at the site. To receive future updates about DEQ actions at NW Metals, sign up to receive email or text updates or visit DEQ’s NW Metals webpage.