AAPA Seaports Advisory

Environment: Portland, San Diego

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Port of Portland Terminal 4 Superfund Cleanup Moving Forward

Port of Portland and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reached a preliminary agreement allowing the Port to continue cleanup at its marine Terminal 4. The work will build on significant cleanup the Port previously conducted at the site. 

Terminal 4 is within the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, and contamination is largely from historic industrial activities discontinued 20 years ago. The Port conducted significant environmental cleanups at the terminal in the 1990s and 2000s. In 1995, the Port removed 35,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from Slip 3. The Port also signed an agreement with EPA in 2003 and implemented an early action in 2008 that resulted in cleanup of nearly 13,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, capping of approximately 8,000 square feet of sediment, and improvement of 850 feet of shoreline.

To ensure consistency in the cleanup remedy, the Port and EPA agreed to defer further cleanup under the early action agreement until EPA issued its final remedy decision, which occurred in January 2017. Also, through work under Oregon Department of Environmental Quality oversight, the Port largely completed the cleanup of any possible continuing sources of contamination to the river at Terminal 4, and the remaining work on sources will be completed prior to or concurrent with the cleanup.

Terminal 4 is the Port’s most active terminal and a significant source of economic activity for the region. Annually, operations at the terminal directly provide 759 jobs, and firms working at the terminal and related truck and rail companies earn more than $232 million. In addition, nearly $12 million in state and local taxes are generated annually by terminal activity.

Port of San Diego Approves Pilot Project to Demonstrate a System to Remove Debris from San Diego Bay

The Port of San Diego is entering into an agreement with Zephyr Debris Removal LLC for a one-year pilot project to demonstrate a system to remove marine debris from San Diego Bay.

Zephyr’s pilot project is to demonstrate the effectiveness and potential scalability of its custom-made, debris removing vessel in San Diego Bay. The vessel uses skimming technology and is designed to remove marine debris and solve a variety of logistical hurdles including efficient removal of small debris and access to shallow and/or rough water. The Port will contribute $100,000 and provide the use of Port-owned property for vessel docking and debris unloading in exchange for a five percent share of Zephyr’s revenue in connection with their debris removal technology and related equipment and services and other consideration.

With the Port’s 50-year history on San Diego Bay and mutually beneficial relationships along the waterfront, the Port is strategically positioned to build a unique Blue Economy Incubator that supports entrepreneurship, fosters sustainable aquaculture, and helps drive blue tech innovation. Furthermore, the incubator directly aligns with the Port’s core mission of promoting commerce, navigation, fisheries and recreation on San Diego Bay and surrounding tidelands.


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