DEQ works to curb long-standing N Portland odor

Pair of oil processing plants identified as likely source of foul smell

Hayden Island residents have reported smelling a foul odor for years, March 5, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For years, North Portland residents have complained about strong odors and nauseating air that some people say has made them sick.

Now, according to a Portland Tribune report, the Environmental Protection Agency has identified a pair of North Portland companies as a likely source of the odors.

Infrared video shot by the EPA and Department of Environmental Quality, in addition to a separate investigation by Northwest Natural, both point to nearby oil processing plants that recycle used motor oil as part of the odor problem.

Portland Tribune: The Big Stink on Hayden Island

But both companies — American Petroleum Environmental Services and Oil Re-Recycling Company — deny responsibility for the foul air.

DEQ Administrator Nina Deconcini tells KOIN 6 News APES recently entered into a mutual agreement with the agency to install emission control equipment by late July.

American Petroleum Environmental Services has been identified as one likely source of a foul odor that residents have reported smelling for years, March 6, 2017. (KOIN)

“We are willing to admit that they do emit odors,” Deconcini said. “We don’t think they’re the exclusive source of odors.”

Marylou Putman and other Jantzen Beach residents want the DEQ to test stacks at the facility. Infrared video taken during an unannounced inspection at APES shows volatile organic compounds being given off that are invisible to the naked eye.

The inspection team also reported smelling a distinctive petroleum odor and measured levels of the volatile organic compounds. That information was only made public after reporter Paul Koberstein requested public records from the DEQ.

“They’re allowed to make this extreme amount of emissions with no testing, and the DEQ is not forcing them to say what it is that’s coming into the air that’s affecting these neighbors, that’s making them sick,” Randy Roy, who lives near APES, said.

Other documents show foul odor complaints go back more than a decade.

“This has been a decade of deception against our community,” Putman said.

She and other residents just want the odor problem to go away.

Deconcini says the DEQ hopes to resolve the issue by mid-summer.

\”We know that we’ve got odors and we know we’ve got additional emissions that we want to control,” Deconcini said. “The fastest path to do that is through this mutual agreement and order that we’ve negotiated with the company.”

The DEQ has a public information session set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Red Lion Hotel to discuss the issue. For more information on the meeting, click here.