Former Washington County Dumpsite Cleanup Complete

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sponsored by: County Administrative Office

County Celebrates Earth Day with Shadybrook Landfill Cleanup Completion

shadybrook seedling

As Earth Day 2014 approaches on April 22, Washington County is celebrating the culmination of a 10 year effort that has literally turned a dumpsite into a thriving forest habitat.

Back in the 1950’s, we had yet to fully realize the implications of solid waste management and the impact of using any steep ravine “out in the country” for dumping everything from old tires to food waste.  It wasn’t until the 1980’s that landfills were designed and operated to prevent environmental contamination.

Fast forward 60 years and the transformation of the former Shadybrook Landfill site, just outside of North Plains, is truly amazing.  At one time, 21 acres of this 60 acre parcel of land was the county’s primary solid waste disposal site.  The landfill closed in the early ‘70’s but another part of the property was also used for several years after that as a shooting range for law enforcement, into the mid ‘80’s.

Over the years, many concerns about hazardous materials, including leachate seeping from the ravine, lead contamination from spent ammunition and fires due to spontaneous combustion, spurred the county into action. In 2004, Washington County entered into the Oregon DEQ’s Voluntary Cleanup Program and began the process of investigation, assessment and eventually, specific actions to mitigate contamination of the soil and water on the property.

The process included sampling and analysis of surface and deep groundwater supplies, including nearby Jesus Creek, as well as other health and ecological risk assessments. The County used 3500 cubic yards of clean fill dirt to cap the former firearms range, after more than fifty pounds of spent lead bullets were removed from the ground. A total of 27,000 cubic yards of clean soil was hauled in to the site to cap and grade critical areas. This helped to improve storm water flow and minimize the infiltration of water through the landfill. The additional soil also helped to support long-term reforestation and to date, over 5,000 trees have been planted on the property. Since 2005, the county has spent $1,137,244 on this project.

Last fall, DEQ issued a "Conditional No further Action" determination for Shadybrook, bringing the cleanup and remediation to a close. The County will continue to monitor the property closely. As with other forest lands owned by Washington County, the new forest has the potential to generate revenue when the time comes to thin the new trees. Most importantly, Shadybrook is now a protected area and home to a wide array of wildlife. It is a success story on many levels and will be managed to the highest level of environmental protection to ensure the best use of the property for future generations. 

Media Contact:

Julie McCloud, Public & Govt. Affairs Assistant