EPA ID# WA1891406349
EPA Region 10
Clark County

3rd Congressional District

Other Names: USDOE-BPA Ross Substation, Ross Substation
Last Update: May, 2010

Hide details for Site DescriptionSite Description

The Bonneville Power Administration Ross Complex (BPA) site has occupied this 200-acre site north of Vancouver, Washington since 1939. The facility became part of the Department of Energy (DOE) when the department was established. The Ross Complex serves as the control center for the generation and transmission of electricity throughout the Pacific Northwest. The site contains a number of storage and disposal areas including the DOB-1 Drainfield, where laboratory wastes were deposited; the Cold Creek Fill Area, where soil contaminated with oil, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and heavy metals were disposed of; and the Fog Chamber Disposal Area, where capacitors containing PCBs were buried in trenches. In 1987 and 1988, BPA sampled an on-site well and found volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Approximately 105,000 people in Vancouver obtain drinking water from public wells located within three miles of the site. Cold Creek is approximately 450 feet downgradient of the complex and is fed by shallow ground water flowing under the site. Vancouver Lake, located 1- miles away, is used for fishing and other recreational activities.

Site Responsibility: This site has been addressed through Federal actions.

NPL Listing HistoryDates
Proposed Date:07/14/1989
Removed Date:
Withdrawal Date:
Final Date:11/21/1989
Deleted Date:09/23/1996

Hide details for Threats and ContaminantsThreats and Contaminants

Media Affected: Groundwater & Soil
Investigations revealed that out of 21 potential waste units identified at the site, only four areas contained soil contamination at levels that required cleanup action. PCBs were found in surface soils at the Capacitor Test Lab and the Ross Substation and Capacitor Yard, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and pentachlorophenol (PCP) were found in surface soils at the Wood Pole Storage Area East. The Fog Chamber Dump contains high levels of PCBs and heavy metals, such as lead, throughout the subsurface soils; however, the area has been capped to ensure contaminants do not migrate further. One on-site deep ground water monitoring well slightly exceeded the drinking water standards for dichloroethylene (DCE) and chloroform. Results of the site risk assessment indicated that exposure to either on- or off-site ground water would not pose a risk to human health.

Hide details for Cleanup ProgressCleanup Progress

Early Actions: To comply with the State of Washington's Model Toxics Control Act, early actions were undertaken by BPA in the Summer of 1991, at seven areas around the site. Contaminated soil was excavated and disposed of off-site.

Long-Term Actions: In 1990, the site was divided into two separate cleanup areas: Areas A and B. In 1993, remedies were selected for cleanup of these areas that included excavation and off-site disposal of PCB-contaminated soils from the Capacitor Test Lab and the Ross Substation and Capacitor Yard; enhanced bioremediation of the contaminated soils at the Wood Pole Storage Area East with a gravel cap; capping the Fog Chamber Dump Trench Area 1; and monitoring of both the shallow and deep on-site ground water. Cleanup activities were completed by BPA in early 1995, and all established cleanup goals were met.

The site was deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) on September 23, 1996. The first Five-Year Review was completed on September 9, 1999. To address concerns about institutional controls identified in this review, an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) was completed on January 18, 2001. The ESD establishes both facility-wide and area-specific requirements to ensure that institutional controls are created, implemented and maintained, and every year, BPA submits a report to EPA that documents that the institutional controls are in place and working. The third Five Year Review for the Ross Complex was conducted in 2009 and the report was finalized in September, 2009. Copies of every Five Year Review report can be found on the EPA Region 10 web site. The remedies remain protective.

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