For nearly four decades, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has been monitoring contamination on a former mill site, located on 5th Street, south of the Molalla library.
A cleanup is expected to take place this year or next; but before that happens, and even before DEQ selects a specific cleanup plan, the department is holding a public meeting to hear comments and answer questions. That meeting will take place on March 10 at 7 p.m. at the Molalla Adult Community Center.
Site History and Contamination
The site to-be-cleaned is part of the 91-acre Avison #1 mill site, located at 500 E. 5th St. in Molalla, where lumber was produced from the 1950s through the 1990s, according to a DEQ staff report on the cleanup.
At Avison 1, from approximately 1973 to 1983, Avison Lumber Company dipped wood in a solution of 1 percent pentachlorophenol (PCP) and water to prevent mold growth on lumber being shipped overseas, per DEQ's report.
Now, both PCP and dioxins (deriving from PCP) have been found in soil on the property as a result of the dipping activities.
PCP is extremely toxic to humans, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and can cause effects on the respiratory tract, blood, kidney, liver, immune system, eyes, nose and skin. It is a probable carcinogen.