This site is located at 5701 NW Lower River Road, on the north shore of the Columbia River, approximately three miles northwest of downtown Vancouver, Washington. Read the 2015 Periodic Review for information on the current status of contamination at the site.

Alcoa constructed and operated an aluminum smelter on the western portion of the site starting in 1940. Between 1944 and 1970, a number of operations were added to the facility to make aluminum into finished goods such as wire, rod, and extrusions. Alcoa operated the entire facility for approximately 45 years. From 1963 - 1984, Columbia Marine Lines, followed by Crowley Marine Services Inc., leased property (The Crowley Parcel) from Alcoa and operated a marine repair facility west of the smelter.  

In 1985, Alcoa began cleaning up and selling individual land parcels and operations.

  • 1987:
    • Cable mill sold to ACPC, who also leased the associated land
    • Aluminum smelter sold to Vanalco
    • Alcoa continues operating the extrusion operation as Vancouver Extrusion Company (Vanexco)
  • 1991: Vanexco closes
  • 1994: North Parcel sold to Clark County PUD for a cogeneration plant
  • 1997: Northeast Parcels sold to Clark County for use as a jail site
  • 2000: Vanalco closes and sells the aluminum smelter to Evergreen Aluminum (Glencore)

Today, the Port of Vancouver owns the former smelter site, stormwater lagoons, and a small sanitary sewer plant. Alcoa owns the rest of the site, including the dock and loading area, last east of the smelter (including the East Landfill, former North and North 2 landfill areas, and the South Bank Area) and the Crowley Parcel. 

Industrial and solid wastes from construction and operation of the aluminum smelter were stored in waste piles and consolidated in landfills onsite over the years. Hazardous contaminants in these wastes include petroleum hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), cyanide, fluoride, trichloroethylene (TCE), low-level organic chemicals, and metals.

Since 1990, Ecology has worked with Alcoa to determine the nature and extent of contamination within and resulting from the operation of the waste piles and landfills. An extensive investigation consisting of soil and groundwater monitoring was performed at the site. Feasibility studies were conducted to determine the best cleanup option for each waste pile, landfill, or other sub-site.

Evergreen Aluminum worked with Ecology in 2007 and 2008 to characterize and clean up the smelter portion of the Site. Evergreen has since completed the removal of approximately 62,500 tons of contaminated soil and waste to an off-site landfill. To date, Alcoa has spent approximately $42 million on cleanup at the Vancouver site, including $34 million on cleanup of PCBs.

Cleanup Actions

2009 Alcoa and Ecology lodge a consent decree for the upland soil and Columbia River sediment cleanup. Alcoa and Ecology continue to negotiate on the cleanup of contaminated groundwater found beneath the East Landfill

Columbia River sediment removal and bank enhancement complete

Alcoa building demolition and soil cleanup complete

Alcoa transfers the site to the Port of Vancouver for development
2008 Alcoa submits application to Army Corps. of Engineers for permit to work in the Columbia River

Ecology issues an Order to begin upland work along Columbia River bank

Alcoa begins demolition of Rod Mill/Wire Mill/Extrusion Mill Building

Alcoa begins dredging of PCB contaminated sediments from Columbia River
2007 Ecology starts negotiations on Consent Decree for cleanup of Evergreen (site info) and Alcoa property

Ecology learns of PCB-contaminated clams in Columbia River adjacent to Alcoa property

Department of Health issues health advisory prohibiting clam harvesting on Columbia River near Alcoa property

Ecology assigns sediment & toxicology specialists & attorney to work on Alcoa cleanup

Contaminated clam warning signs in 8 languages placed at boat launches

Ecology holds public meeting to discuss cleanup actions to date at Evergreen & Alcoa properties. Ecology reviews progress of cleanup at Crowley site.

Alcoa posts additional clam warning signs on the smelter river bank

Ecology reviews risk data to determine final sediment cleanup standards and action levels

Alcoa & Ecology agree on, and announce, an accelerated cleanup schedule to complete site cleanup as soon as legally possible
2006 Alcoa installs rip rap to stabilize at the lower portion of East Landfill shoreline embankment
2005 Alcoa completes additional design work to further stabilize embankment of the East Landfill and completes in water habitat restoration required by state resource agency.
2004 Alcoa completes capping of East Landfill & construction of adjacent shoreline embankment
2003 Ecology issues Interim Action Agreed Order to cap East Landfill, excavate PCBs from south bank, & construct shoreline embankment to prevent release of PCBs to river

Excavation of south bank PCBs is completed; area is back-filled with clean material
2002 Alcoa completes engineering design for the East Landfill cap, south bank excavation & shoreline embankment; receives aquatic resource permit
2001 Alcoa completes Phase II river sampling & submits report to Ecology
2000 Alcoa completes phase I river sampling & submits report to Ecology
1999 Ecology requires Alcoa to conduct PCB sampling in Columbia River
1998 Ecology requires Alcoa to sample soils adjacent to East Landfill & on adjacent river bank. PCBs discovered in river bank just downstream of landfill

Alcoa applies to Corps of Engineers for Joint Aquatic Resource Permit to remove PCB-contaminated soils from the south bank area of concern
1997 Ecology issues Agreed Order to Alcoa to clean up Northeast Landfill

Alcoa completes removal of waste from Northeast Landfill. High level PCBs sent off-site. Low level PCBs consolidated in East Landfill

Ecology is notified that Clark County discovered PCBs in Columbia River
1995 Alcoa removes PCB-contaminated soil & concrete from Rod Mill building
1988 Alcoa completes voluntary cleanup of hydraulic oil & PCB-contaminated soils adjacent to Rod Mill


Map showing site location as Clark County, WA SITE INFORMATION


View Electronic Documents

Cleanup Site Details Report

Facility Site ID: # 21

Cleanup Site ID: 2867

Vancouver, Clark County

Status: Cleanup Complete-Active O&M/Monitoring   Get definitions of Status terminology

Garin Schrieve
Site Manager
(360) 407-6999

Angela Fritz
Public Involvement Coordinator
(360) 407-7393

Document Repositories:

Industrial Section
300 Desmond Dr SE
Lacey, 98503-1274