Report: Contamination Worsened as DEQ Went Easy on Port of Morrow


An investigation by the Oregon Capital Chronicle shows that the state’s chief environmental agency knowingly let the Port of Morrow pollute year after year, contributing to drinking water contamination for thousands.

To protect jobs, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality addressed the industrial pollution with deals instead of enforcement, according to the Capital Chronicle.

The publication says agency officials accepted the port’s plans over the years that promised correction but were seldom followed.

Front-line DEQ employees tasked with monitoring the port encountered unexplained directives that gave reprieve after reprieve to the port, identified as one source in the region of nitrogen pollution, according to the Capital Chronicle. The port pumps nitrogen-laced water from its industrial complex in Boardman to farm fields, where it can convert into nitrate and seep into groundwater.

The reports indicates hundreds of tons of nitrogen that should never have made it out of the port’s industrial operation flowed year after year onto farmland and onto one of the most nitrate-polluted basins in Oregon – the Lower Umatilla Groundwater Basin.

For the complete story, visit the Oregon Capital Chronicle website.