EPA Orders Oregon Ranch Owner to Finish Hazardous Waste Cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a former owner and operator of Beetham Ranch in Powell Butte, Ore. and the company he owns and controls to complete the cleanup of hazardous wastes that began in 2007.

According to the order, the former owner and operator, Dennis C. Beetham, and his company, D.B. Western, Inc., are to finish cleanup operations at the ranch that have already resulted in the removal of nearly 265 tons of hazardous waste, 241 tons of industrial waste and 3,000 tons of solid waste.

The order is the latest action in cleanup efforts that began with an inspection by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in the summer of 2007. Inspectors at that time found significant contamination including various forms of formaldehyde at the site. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and EPA have also gathered information that indicates Beetham and D.B. Western Inc. transported hazardous waste to the ranch and dumped, buried or burned the material on the property.

"Cleaning up this site as quickly as possible is our top priority," said Mike Boykin, EPA's project manager for the cleanup. "Hundreds of tons of material have already been removed, but some hazardous waste is still waiting to be disposed of, and some areas have yet to be thoroughly sampled and cleaned up."

. The order also provides EPA with the option of sending federal contractors to the site to complete the cleanup if Beetham and D.B. Western do not properly respond. Beetham and D.B. Western would continue to be responsible for the costs of the cleanup if federal contractors complete the work.

For some background on this case, visit "Beetham Co. Pleads Not Guilt to Illegal Disposal Storage."

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