Aug 06, 2020

Portland Studies Tear Gas In Storm Water System

Portland, Oregon will learn if tear gas got into a storm water system later in August

water treatment plant

Portland, Oregon environmental officials will learn later this month whether traces of tear gas got into the city’s storm water system.

According to the Oregonian, the results would come from samples recently taken from sediment in storm drains near the federal courthouse downtown. Cyanide, barium and others substances specific to CS gas are being tested, reported Diane Dulken, a spokesperson for the city’s Bureau of Environmental Services.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sent a letter to the city last week requiring the testing and monitoring of the storm water after tear gas use by city and federal officers over the last two months of demonstrations. 

City officials also became concerned after seeing videos online of federal officers using a hose to spray contaminants off the sidewalk into a storm drain in front of the Mark O Hatfield Courthouse, according to the Oregonian. It is against city code to flush any material into Portland’s storm system that is not rainwater.

City workers cleaned six storm drains of tear gas residue along Southwest Third Avenue between Salmon Street and Main Street, added Dulken. The city is still trying to get access to a seventh storm drain behind the unpermitted fence that surrounds the federal courthouse.

Since the Willamette River is about three blocks east of the courthouse, Portland plans to test an outfall to the river after the next significant rainstorm.

“Our primary goal is pollution prevention,” said Matt Criblez, Portland’s environmental services compliance manager. “We know that a certain amount of these chemicals have settled into the city’s storm drains. We are going to remove as much as possible to prevent that material from being flushed into the Willamette River.”

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