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Oregon DEQ Finalizes Cleanup Plan For J.H. Baxter Facility

Brian Bull

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has finalized a cleanup plan for a contaminated wood treatment facility in Eugene. The J.H. Baxter plant dates back to 1943. State investigations of soil and water contamination at the site go all the way back to 1981 and the company agreed to several cleanup actions in the 1990s.

Now, after a new round of investigations, the state says J.H. Baxter needs to take additional steps. They include cleaning up contaminated soil on part of the property, and permanently capping contaminated soil on another part. The company will also need to maintain a groundwater treatment system to ensure that contaminated water doesn’t spread off site.

The DEQ decision doesn’t set a deadline for Baxter to complete the work, but the company said in a statement that it is “excited to begin the remediation project."

Separately, a Washington, DC law firm said the DEQ announcement won't sway its attempts to find clients for a possible suit against Baxter for odor emissions that have led to complaints from nearby residents. The DEQ cleanup plan does not address odors.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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