MILWAUKIE, Ore. (KOIN) — Representatives from Precision Castparts spoke about air quality issues and monitors in the area for the first time Tuesday night at a Milwaukie City Council meeting.
The plant recently came under fire for its pollution of potentially toxic levels of heavy metals in the region.
Locals told the company’s general manager they fear for their health.
“My family just wants to have a safe place to live,” Charles Snyder said.
Precision Castparts makes parts for airplanes, among other things, and employs nearly 2,800 people in the Portland area.
“I know people that work there, but at the same time as a father, as someone who wants to spend the rest of my life here, I’d like to know if it’s a safe place to live,” Victor Hungerford said.
The Department of Environmental Quality recently began monitoring the air around the plant after a Department of Forestry study found high levels of arsenic and nickel.
Air monitors were installed to look for metals including lead, cobalt and cadmium.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Precision Castparts said it doesn’t use arsenic.
“We feel really good about the strong emission controls that we have,” Precision Castparts’ Aaron Johnson said. “We know what alloys and components we use.”
The plant is investing $17 million in new pollution controls, including a $4 million storm water filtration system. As of now, Johnson says, there isn’t a health concern.
“It would lead me to believe that we are not, in fact, harming the environment,” he said. “But I definitely understand their concerns and heard them loud and clearly.”
The DEQ is continuing to monitor the air near Precision Castparts and is expecting to have results at the end of April.
Precision Castparts hopes to continue the conversation at a public meeting next month. For information about the meeting or to submit a comment, click here.