Bradford Island Project Update

USACE Portland District is seeking applicants for membership on the Bradford Island National Priorities List site Restoration Advisory Board. Please find more information on the Restoration Advisory Board’s webpage here

USACE committed to updating the project status on the Bradford Island webpage in lieu holding an August RAB meeting. Those status updates are provided below:

Federal Facility Agreement (FFA):
USACE, EPA, ODEQ, and WDOE continue to make progress in the FFA negotiations. The parties have reached agreement on the site management plan (SMP) portion of the FFA, which describes current and near-term response actions. One administrative item is still being worked at the Army level before the parties can start the FFA signing process. Timeline for resolution is currently unknown, but is being actively worked.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been developed between USACE, EPA, and the Yakama Nation to document Yakama Nation’s participation in the site cleanup. The MOU is currently being routed for final signatures. This type of MOU will also be offered to the other interested tribes.

River Operable Unit Workplan
Brice Engineering, on behalf of USACE, continues to develop the Phase 1 Work Plan for additional data collection to support the Supplemental Remedial Investigation for the River Operable Unit. USACE plans to submit the draft plan for regulatory review by 1 September 2023. A presentation regarding the aspects of the work plan will be made to RAB for input after that review. USACE’s ultimate goal to is have sampling begin in Spring 2024. 

Technical Consulting Support
USACE continues to procure a contract with Jacobs to assist the project through Record of Decision for both operable units. Award is expected in late September.

RAB Membership
USACE has drafted an advertisement for backfilling the open RAB member spots. We will provide that advertisement to the RAB for input prior to posting. USACE plans to advertise to the public through multiple news outlets with targeted outreach to tribal members​, industry and commercial stakeholders​, fishers (recreational or commercial)​, and union workers.


Bradford Island

A view of Bradford Island's northeast shore

Bradford Island is part of the Bonneville Dam complex, which is located on the Columbia River at river mile 146.1, approximately 40 miles east of Portland, Oregon. The island has been the site of a variety of activities since dam construction including project maintenance, housing, equipment storage, chemical storage, and waste disposal.  

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began investigating the potential for contamination from historical disposal activities in 1997. Site investigations on Bradford Island began with evaluation of a landfill located near the eastern end on the island, which was used from the 1940s until the early 1980s. The USACE informed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) of the presence of the landfill in 1996. The landfill was added to the DEQ Environmental Cleanup Site Information (ECSI) database in April 1997, and the Bonneville Dam Project Manager signed a DEQ Voluntary Cleanup Agreement letter for the landfill on February 18, 1998. In 2000, when electrical equipment was discovered submerged in the river adjacent to the landfill, investigations were expanded to include the Columbia River off the north shore of Bradford Island. In 2004, USACE elected to continue the Bradford Island project under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) in accordance with Executive Order 12580.  

Numerous investigations have been performed by the USACE and their contractors since 1997 to characterize and evaluate the contamination resulting from historical USACE activities at Bradford Island, with the site divided into two Operable Units (OUs), the Upland OU and the River OU. A review of site records, including employee interviews, site environmental audits, and environmental investigations resulted in the identification of four areas of potential concern (AOPCs) for the Upland OU: the Landfill AOPC, Sandblast Area AOPC, Pistol Range AOPC and Bulb Slope AOPC. The River OU is not subdivided and consists of the pooled area immediately upriver of the Bonneville Dam complex, known as the Bonneville Dam Forebay. The primary contaminants of interest that have been identified in soil and/or groundwater in the four Upland OU AOPCs include selected metals; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); butyltins; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); and a few pesticides/herbicides. The contaminants of interest identified in offshore sediments and/or tissue samples for the River OU include selected metals, PCBs, pesticides, and PAHs.  

Due to the PCB contamination in fish tissue, there is currently a fish advisory to not eat any resident fish between the Bonneville Dam and one mile upstream of the dam. More detail on the fish advisory can be found on the following Oregon Health Authority website: Bonneville Dam Fish Advisory.  

Cleanup Actions Taken

The electrical equipment and debris discovered in the Columbia River off the north shore of Bradford Island in December 2000 was removed from the river in February and March 2002, as part of a time-critical removal action. Approximately 32 tons of solid waste was removed and disposed of off-site.  

Following delineation of the extent of sediment contamination, impacted sediment along the north shore of Bradford Island was dredged and removed from the Columbia River in October 2007, as part of a non-time critical removal action. During the dredging action, 2.2 million gallons of water and 65 tons of sediment were suctioned from the river bottom. The water was filtered to remove contaminants and the water returned to the river was non-detectable for PCBs at five parts per trillion. The captured sediment, taken to a licensed landfill, was non-detectable for PCBs at 80 parts per billion.  


Bradford Island Site Timeline