Environmental Protection Agency Lays Out Cleanup Options for Klamath Falls Site

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a report that describes a number of possible asbestos clean-up plans for a contaminated site three miles north of Klamath Falls, Oregon. The land was formerly the site of a 1940s-era Marine barracks complex with 80 buildings, nearly all of which were built with asbestos-containing construction materials, which were very common at the time. The complex was demolished in the 1970s, and a residential housing subdivision, North Ridge Estates, built in their stead.

Both the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the federal EPA have worked since the 1970s to remediate the asbestos that remains in the area. EPA crews have cone activity-based sampling (in which workers simulate ordinary homeowner activities like raking lawns while taking air quality samples) and have conducted some clean-up at the site, but officials say that considerable asbestos contamination remains throughout the area. The basic options laid out in the EPA report were to fence off the most contaminated areas to prevent residents from coming into contact with asbestos-contaminated soil, or to cover the contaminated areas with a cap of clean soil. Environmental Protection Agency officials say they will release their final plan for the site in September of 2008. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is soliciting public input on the site, and will be holding a forum and workshops in the Klamath Falls area in late July 2008.