Quality of bottom material and elutriates in the lower Willamette River, Portland Harbor, Oregon

Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4005




In October 1983 the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, collected bottom-material and water samples from Portland Harbor, Oregon to determine concentrations of trace metals and organic compounds in elutriate-test filtrate and bottom material. Of the trace metals examined in bottom material, concentrations of cadmium slightly exceed those of local rocks, whereas lead and zinc exceedance is substantially larger. Of the organochlorine compounds examined in bottom material chlordane, DDD, DDE, DDT, dieldrin, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) were detected and quantified in at least 30% of the samples tested. A large DDT concentration (2,700 microgram/kilogram) near Doane Lake outlet is indicative of recent contamination. Polychlorinated biphenyls are ubiquitous in bottom sediments; median concentrations are nearly 65 micrograms/kilogram and as large as 550 microgram/kilogram. PCB loading to the Columbia River from Willamette River suspended sediment has been estimated to be 72 kilograms/year, nearly five times the PCB dredge load of 15 kilogram/year. The acid and base-neutral extractable di-n-butyl phthalate and bis (2-ethylhexyl)phthalate occur in sediments of Terminal No. 2 in concentrations as large as 1,965 and 2,200 micrograms/kilogram, respectively. Of the trace metals examined in both standard and oxic elutriate-test filtrate, only copper concentration in an oxic elutriate-test filtrate (19 micrograms/L) exceeded the water quality criteria (5.7 micrograms/L). (USGS)

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Quality of bottom material and elutriates in the lower Willamette River, Portland Harbor, Oregon
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Contributing office(s):
Oregon Water Science Center
v, 30 p. :ill., one map ;28 cm.