Washington state port tackles illegal dumping problem
Port of Vancouver, Wash., officials, working with local authorities, said Wednesday that an anti-roadside dumping project at the port has begun paying off within weeks of installation.
On April 11, the port installed concrete K-rail barricades along Port Way, a half-mile long port road that runs adjacent to a main rail line. The short stretch of road is the main entryway to Pacific Coast Shredding, a vehicle scrapping facility. Customers bringing vehicles to PCS were being turned away if gasoline was found in the vehicles' tanks. At least nine times in the past two years, these customers would take the vehicles to the Port Way roadside and puncture the scrap vehicle tanks, letting the fuel drain on the ground. Three such incidents were recorded in 2006 and six more this year.
Since the installation of the barricades, only a single incident has been reported — on a BNSF Railway access road not protected by the K-rail. Vancouver Police cited the offender, and BNSF has chained off the access road.
In 2007, the port incurred nearly $7,000 in costs to dispose of gasoline contamination, not including staff time, clean up and preventative efforts related to the illegal dumping incidents.
The port paid $13,114 for the concrete blocks. Efforts are under way by the port to recoup part of the cost of the improvements from landowners and tenants along the road.
Port Way, because of its proximity to the port's drinking water wells and the Columbia River, is designated an environmentally-sensitive area.