EPA ID# ORD009049412
EPA Region 10
Wasco County
The Dalles

2nd Congressional District

Other Names: J. H. Baxter
Last Update: April, 2010

Hide details for Site DescriptionSite Description

The Union Pacific Railroad Co. Tie Treating Plant site covers 83 acres in a mixed commercial and residential area approximately 500 feet south of the Columbia River in Wasco County, The Dalles, Oregon. Union Pacific owned the wood treatment facility from 1926 until late 1987, when equipment and structures were purchased by Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation. However, Union Pacific retained ownership of the land and responsibility for all pre-1987 contamination of soil and groundwater. The plant primarily treated railroad ties for Union Pacific, but also treated wood for other commercial users across the United States. From 1959 to 1987, J. H. Baxter Co. operated the plant for Union Pacific. The facility treated wood with copper arsenate, creosote, a creosote/fuel mixture, and pentachlorophenol. Spills of treatment solutions and wastewater ponds in use were the main sources of contamination. Groundwater is used by over 11,000 people located within 3 miles of the site.

Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through state actions and potentially responsible parties' actions.

NPL Listing HistoryDates
Proposed Date:10/26/1989
Removed Date:
Withdrawal Date:
Final Date:08/30/1990
Deleted Date:

Hide details for Threats and ContaminantsThreats and Contaminants

Media Affected: Groundwater, Soil & Sludges
Groundwater and soils contain creosote components, PCP, fuel oil, ammonia, and arsenic. Contamination by arsenic and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is greatest in the shallow and intermediate aquifers beneath the site. Deep aquifers contain phenanthrene and naphthalene. Potential health risks may exist from ingestion of, or direct contact with, the contaminated groundwater and soils.

Hide details for Cleanup ProgressCleanup Progress

Early Actions: A small area contaminated with creosote was found on the shoreline of the Columbia River in early 1991. As a temporary control measure, and under a State Consent Order, Union Pacific covered the contaminated soil with a heavy synthetic liner.

Long-Term Actions: Union Pacific, under a Consent Order with the State of Oregon, has completed an investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site. The State selected a site remedy in 1996. The final remedy consists of product removal, hydraulic containment, groundwater extraction and treatment, discharge of treated effluent under NPDES, and surface drainage controls. The remedy was designed by Union Pacific. Construction of module one which is the first of three modules of the remedy is completed and became fully operational December 1999. After evaluating the remedial life cycle of the selected groundwater remediation technologies, UPRR constructed and began operation of Modules 2 and 3 during early 2004 and began full-scale concurrent operation of all three Modules in late 2004. As of March 2010, approximately 94,582 gallons of creosoting oil have been recovered from the site since 1990. This site was designated "construction complete" on September 23, 2004.

Hide details for Regional ContactsRegional Contacts

SITE MANAGER(S):Cliff Walkey (state)
E-MAIL ADDRESS:walkey.cliff@deq.state.or.us
PHONE NUMBER:541-633-2003

Susan Haas (EPA Contact)
Information pertaining to this site is housed at the following location(s):
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (Administrative Record)
Environmental Cleanup Division
400 East Scenic Drive, Suite 2.307
The Dalles, OR 97058