DEQ: Toxic metal levels drop near Precision Castparts

Tests didn't show any metal concentrations that exceeded 24-hour screening levels

Precision Castparts, file. (KOIN)
Precision Castparts, file. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At a meeting with community members Monday night, health officials and Precision Castparts assured Southeast Portland residents toxic metal exposure is down in the area’s air, water and soil.

Officials with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Health Authority said air monitoring test results didn’t show any metal concentrations that exceeded the 24-hour screening levels.

Health officials discussed air monitoring test results at a community meeting in Southeast Portland, October 24, 2016. (KOIN)
Health officials discussed air monitoring test results at a community meeting in Southeast Portland, October 24, 2016. (KOIN)

Based on the findings, the DEQ concluded most toxic metal exposure has gone down since Precision Castparts installed new filtration systems.

But some community members still feel not enough is being done.

Some of the results found long-term health risks could still be higher than the DEQ’s ambient benchmarks. Those results beg the question: If exposure to toxic air remains above that long-term benchmark, could Precision Castparts be held accountable?

“The way that Precision Castparts and any source that’s currently regulated… are going to be held accountable is the new rules are going to be health-based,” a DEQ official said. “They would be fined just like anyone else that violates.”

New rules to the DEQ’s air permitting regulations will be rolled out in late 2017.

Health officials said they will continue testing the water and soil in the area of Precision Castparts to see if there are any short or long-term risks to the public.