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Back in the 1960s, a tannery worker in Oregon buried a quantity of tanned hides and skins on his property. Then, regulations on chromium contamination were very different and now the local Department for Environmental Quality is cleaning up the site following a financial settlement with the owner of the land.
According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Ken Foster, a former employee at Ken Foster Farm in Sherwood, had buried tanned hides in a 40-acre site between 1962 and 1971. The problem with these hides is that they contain traces of hexavalent chromium in amounts above the human health risk-based concentration set for residential use. Mark Pugh, a project manager for the DEQ, said that the soil samples revealed a low risk for now since one person in a million could actually develop lung cancer, but the area still needs to be cleaned up. The operation will be carried out in phases during the next Spring or Summer period.
In 2011, the DEQ entered into a US$2.6 million settlement with the former owners of the tannery, which burned down in 2005. The money will now be used to clean up the soil, starting with the gardens of people already living on the site. However, Pugh pointed out that the money will not be enough to clean the entire area.
Source: Pamplin Media Group