Dioxin Developments

August 22, 2016 | Commercial Litigation | Complex Torts & Product Liability

Report Cites Dioxin in Sediment at Former Boise Cascade Mill in Salem, Oregon

Engineering consultants conducting a sediment investigation (“SI”) at a former paper mill in Salem, Oregon, have reported finding high levels of dioxins and furans at the site.


Geosyntec Consultants prepared a report entitled “Willamette Slough Sediment Investigation” for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to characterize surface and subsurface sediments for dioxins and furans in the vicinity of the former Boise Cascade Salem Mill located near 315 Commercial Street SE in Salem, Oregon (the “Site”).

As explained by Geosyntec, the SI area is located in the Willamette Slough, between Minto Island and downtown Salem. The Site first was developed in the mid-1880s, and served as the Salem Flouring Mills, a lumber mill, and a pulp and paper mill industrial complex.

During the 1950s, Geosyntec said, the Oregon Pulp and Paper Company – which included a pulp mill, digester, holding tanks, and bleaching plant – operated at the Site, using the wood pulping method known as “krafting.”

Geosyntec pointed out that, in 1962, Boise Cascade purchased the facilities, including a large part of Minto Island, and continued to operate there through 1982.

The Geosyntec Findings

In its report, Geosyntec said that it found “high concentrations” of dioxins and furans in the sediment within the Willamette Slough.

Given the historical operations of a pulp and paper mill at the Site, Geosyntec reasoned, it was “likely that unregulated discharges” of dioxins and furans had occurred in the Willamette Slough and nearby Pringle Creek and had been deposited in bed sediments over time.

In fact, Geosyntec said, it could be “generally concluded” that the source of dioxins and furans in the sediments in the Willamette Slough was “likely to be the former paper mill.”

For further information, please contact James V. Aiosa, Paul V. Majkowski, Lawrence S. Han, or your regular Rivkin Radler attorney.

Dioxin – August 2016

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