TELEDYNE WAH CHANG
OREGON
EPA ID# ORD050955848
EPA Region 10
Linn County
Millersburg

5th Congressional District

Other Names: Teledyne Wah Chang - Albany, Oremet-Wah Chang
Last Update: May, 2010

Hide details for Site DescriptionSite Description

The Oremet-Wah Chang (OWC) plant (formerly Teledyne Wah Chang) plant is one of the country's largest producers of zirconium and other rare earth metals and alloys. The site is located in Millersburg, Oregon and includes two areas: (1) a 110-acre plant and a 115-acre area made up of four ponds containing sludges from the plant's wastewater treatment facility; and (2) a 60-acre field where sludges containing radium were used as a soil amendment. Production at the site began in 1957. Process wastes disposed of on the site contained radionuclides, heavy metals, and chlorinated solvents. Solids generated from the process wastewater treatment system have been stored in a number of surface impoundments. Until 1980, sludges were taken to seven unlined storage ponds on site, including the Lower River Solids Pond and Schmidt Lake, both located next to the Willamette River. About 20,000 people live within three miles of the site. About 1,100 employees currently work on site; as many as 2,000 people were previously employed at the plant. The Willamette River, Truax Creek, and Murder Creek border the facility and are used for recreational activities, irrigation, watering of livestock, and fishing. Municipalities downstream from the site do not use the Willamette River as a drinking water source.

Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through federal and potentially responsible party actions.

NPL Listing HistoryDates
Proposed Date:12/30/1982
Removed Date:
Withdrawal Date:
Final Date:09/08/1983
Deleted Date:


Hide details for Threats and ContaminantsThreats and Contaminants

Media Affected: Groundwater, Soil & Sludges
On-site sludge was contaminated with thorium, uranium, radium, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Creek sediments are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)s. Soil is contaminated with radionuclides, heavy metals, PCBs, and volatile organic compounds. Shallow groundwater is contaminated with VOCs, radium, and heavy metals. Past potential health threats included direct contact with and accidental ingestion of contaminated sludges, soil, or groundwater. The discharge of contaminated groundwater into nearby creeks could pose ecological risks. Radium contaminated soil may produce radon gas emissions, which pose an inhalation risk.


Hide details for Cleanup ProgressCleanup Progress

Early Actions: The Solids Area was addressed as an early cleanup action before the remedial investigation was completed. In 1990, EPA chose a remedy for cleaning up the sludges. The remedy included removing about 110,000 cubic yards of sludges from the Lower River Solids Pond and Schmidt Lake, solidifying the sludges, and removing the mixture to a permitted off-site disposal facility. Oremet-Wah Chang began cleanup under an EPA Administrative Order in 1991, and finished in 1993. Five-year reviews, completed in January 1998 and January 2003, confirmed the remedy continues to protect human health and the environment.

Long-Term Actions: Groundwater/Sediments/Soils: In 1995, Oremet-Wah Chang completed the remedial investigation under an Administrative Order. EPA had selected a remedy for groundwater and sediments in 1994. The remedy called for pumping and treating contaminated groundwater, and excavating and disposing of PCB-contaminated creek sediments. The remedy for soils, selected in 1995, included excavating radium-contaminated soils, and institutional controls to reduce risk from radon. Wah Chang began to design the remedy for groundwater, sediment, and soil in 1997, under an EPA Consent Decree. In 1998, sediments cleanup was completed. Excavation of radium-contaminated soil was completed in 1999. OWC began constructing the groundwater treatment system in 2000.

In 2005, Wah Chang submitted a three-year evaluation of the groundwater treatment system to EPA. The evaluation showed areas where solvent groundwater concentrations have met EPA cleanup standards, but also indicated areas where solvent groundwater concentrations were not at levels acceptable to EPA. Wah Chang is working with EPA to enhance and improve the groundwater treatment system so that groundwater concentrations continue to decline. In addition, Wah Chang will continue to submit reports to EPA documenting contaminant concentrations in soil from studies of areas previously uninvestigated under Superfund. This will demonstrate that any newly discovered soil contamination will not have any negative effect on the groundwater remedy. In 2008, under EPA's direction,Wah Chang installed a new extraction well in the fabrication area of their main facility. Wah Chang found an old source of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) that released high concentrations into the groundwater. These concentrations cannot be cleaned up by the existing groundwater extraction and treatment system. Wah Chang conducted a further investigation to determine the nature and extent of the source, and to evaluate remedial alternatives. In 2009, EPA made a decision to add enhanced In-situ bioremediation to address the high concentrations of TCA and other VOCs in the acid sump area of the fabrication area. An Explanation of Significant Differences documents this change to the cleanup remedy. Additional application of EISB in the fabrication area will occur in 2010.



Show details for Regional ContactsRegional Contacts