Investigation: Little Has Been Done About Port’s Polluted Water

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By Alex Baumhardt, Cole Sinanian and Jael Calloway

Guadalupe Martinez points to a 24-pack of bottled water by her kitchen sink with just a few bottles left, one of thousands she’s brought home over the last 18 years.

“Ever since we’ve been living here, we’ve been buying water,” she said.

The 54-year-old grandmother knows she can’t drink the water that comes out of her tap. It would make her and her family sick.

She is not alone.

Thousands of Oregonians near the town of Boardman in the northeast corner of the state live atop an aquifer so tainted with farming chemicals that it’s not safe to drink.

State officials have known that for more than 30 years. And so has one source of that contamination – the Port of Morrow.

Officials at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality have known nitrate pollution in area groundwater is putting the health of largely low-income, Latino and immigrant families at risk. An investigation by the Oregon Capital Chronicle established that little has been done about the port’s contribution to area water contamination besides modest fines and engaging in agreements that the port in turn violated.

For the full article, visit the Oregon Capital Chronicle website.

1 COMMENT

  1. Request for clarification in article published 5/09/2022. The article says ” thousands of Oregonians near the town of Boardman in the northeast corner of the state live atop an aquifer so tainted with farming chemicals that it’s not safe to drink.”
    Check the Facts: Water for both City of Boardman residents and Port of Morrow use a Raney Collector system to draw water from under the bedrock of the Columbia River. Port of Morrow purchases water from the city for industrial use and distributes it various places. Boardman City water has a separate system, tested annually for safety. I know this because as a 30 year Boardman resident, a water sample from our home was collected annually and tested for contaminants. Please check the City of Boardman Water Department for correct information. Check Irrigon and Boardman Health Clinics for information on water born illness.

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