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Portland Harbor Superfund Remediation (RM9W)


The Portland Harbor Superfund Site (Site) represents a 11-mile stretch of the lower Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. The Site is divided into multiple project areas, with multiple remedial designs and future cleanups. We represent FMC Corporation at one of the locations on the river, named River Mile 9 West (RM9W). The potential environmental cleanup work at the RM9W location is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. We are working with FMC to efficiently design a cleanup remedy at RM9W that will work to minimize project costs, while at the same time yield an effective cleanup.

A combination of government agencies, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), are providing regulatory oversight of the Site cleanup. It is critical that we work cooperatively, yet diligently, with EPA and DEQ in developing effective and efficient cleanup plans at RM9W.


The Site consists of approximately 50 acres of in-water area, and five acres of adjacent riverbanks extending from the river surface to the top of the west bank.

An important step in developing the cleanup remedy is to design and implement a Pre-Design Investigation (PDI). This PDI provides critical data for the Design. These data include collection and analyses of sediment, soil, surface water and storm water for the contaminants of concern at the site that include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, furans and various pesticides.

The PDI is a multi-million dollar effort, a significant project investment, however, with these data available in the design, the scope and extent of the cleanup (also referred to as remedial action) will be much more precise, leading to a cost-efficient cleanup approach.

Three specific objectives of this PDI are to:

  • Identify Remedial Design data needs and present an approach to gathering the needed information to fill those gaps.
  • Assist in refining the scope and extent of the remedial actions that will be performed at the Site, including refining sediment management areas (SMA), informing the selection of remedial technology assignments consistent with the decision tree in the PHSS Record of Decision.
  • Collect data regarding upstream conditions and contaminant loading into the Site.

We officially serve as the Superfund Supervising Contractor for FMC in order to provide technical expertise, supervise the work, lead and coordinate the design, and ensure quality management systems are in place and implemented during this process. Foth has a broad team of experts supporting the project.


An important aspect of developing an effective and cost-efficient cleanup or remedial action at contaminated sediment sites is to think with “the end in mind”. Obtaining critical data and information in the pre-design phase of these multi-year projects will help ensure that a design and subsequent remedial could occur in a cost—efficient manner. Keeping “the end in mind” at every stage in the process is a unique Foth value brought to our clients, developed by decades of experience working in waterways and at contaminated sites. During the pre-design work, we are dedicated and practiced to plan and think ahead on how these important site data will contribute to a cost-effective affect cleanup at RM9W.


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