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Powell Butte, Ore. Ranch Owners Ordered to Complete Hazardous Waste Cleanup

Release Date: 11/02/2009
Contact Information: Mike Boykin, EPA On Scene Coordinator, 206-553-6362 or Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454

(Portland, Ore.—Nov. 2, 2009) A former owner and operator of Beetham Ranch in Powell Butte, Ore. and the company he owns and controls have been ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete the cleanup of hazardous wastes that began in 2007. According to the order, the former owner and operator, Dennis C. Beetham, and his company, D.B. Western, Inc., are to finish cleanup operations at the ranch that have already resulted in the removal of nearly 265 tons of hazardous waste, 241 tons of industrial waste and 3000 tons of solid waste.

The EPA order is the latest action in cleanup efforts that began with an inspection by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in the summer of 2007. Inspectors at that time found significant contamination including various forms of formaldehyde at the site. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and EPA have also gathered information which indicates that Dennis Beetham and D.B. Western Inc. transported hazardous waste to the ranch and dumped, buried or burned the material on the property.

“Cleaning up this site as quickly as possible is our top priority,” said Mike Boykin, EPA’s Project Manager for the cleanup. “Hundreds of tons of material have already been removed, but some hazardous waste is still waiting to be disposed of, and some areas have yet to be thoroughly sampled and cleaned-up.”

The order also provides the EPA with the option of sending federal contractors to the site to complete the cleanup if Beetham and D.B. Western do not properly respond. Beetham and D.B. Western would continue to be responsible for the costs of the cleanup if federal contractors complete the work.