On July 12, EPA received a request from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) to respond to abandoned chemical containers stored in a building on private property in Riddle, Oregon. Reportedly, this building was used in gold mining/recovery efforts by a married couple who previously lived on the property, but are no longer in residence at the site. The Roseburg Fire Department inspected the building and then referred it to ODEQ due to the presence of multiple abandoned chemical containers in poor condition, including acids, bases, solids, powders, and unknowns. An ODEQ RCRA Inspector conducted a site visit and documented numerous containers of labeled, unlabeled, and compromised containers, some of which are open and releasing their contents to the floor. Photographs show chemical containers improperly stored/staged throughout the building and identified the presence of numerous chemicals, such as corrosives, toxics, and incompatible substances, that when mixed, may cause fire, explosion, or release toxic gases. At this time, access to the building is not secured which presents a potential threat of human exposure to anyone entering the premises and/or further release of chemicals to the environment due to vandalism or theft.
On Friday, July 14, 2017, EPA mobilized an OSC with START and ERRS contractors to assess the situation and potentially conduct removal and cleanup activities.