BREAKING: Victory!

EPA Announces New Columbia River Superfund Cleanup Site


Section of Columbia River, Bradford Island Added to National Priorities List for Toxic Cleanup

BONNEVILLE, WA (March 17, 2022)—In a huge victory for Columbia River Tribes and all people that rely on a clean Columbia, today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Bradford Island and surrounding waters of the Columbia River are officially added to the nation’s Superfund List. For decades, the U.S. Army Corps (Corps), which owns and operates Bonneville dam, dumped toxic waste on the island and in the Columbia. Under the Trump administration, the Corps zeroed out the budget for cleanup investigations and sued the State of Oregon to recover cleanup costs previously agreed to under a voluntary cleanup agreement. After a lengthy investigation and public comment period, EPA has officially designated the island and river area near Bonneville dam on the nation’s priority list for cleanups.

“This is a huge victory for people that rely on a clean Columbia,” said Lauren Goldberg, legal and program director for Columbia Riverkeeper. “The government has known for years that resident fish near Bradford Island are too toxic to eat. With a Superfund listing, we can finally tackle the pollution problem and take critical steps to protect people that rely on locally-caught fish.”

In recent years, Yakama Nation, Oregon, Washington, and thousands of community members called on EPA to take over the stalled-out cleanup. EPA’s decision to add Bradford Island to the Superfund List—reserved for the nation’s worst-of-the-worst cleanup sites—will lead to major changes, including additional funding, heightened scrutiny by EPA, and tighter legal controls to reduce threats to public health and the environment. 

“The Yakama Nation and our partners worked hard to get the site added to the Superfund List because, even after two decades of work at the site, contamination in resident fish remains alarmingly high,” stated Rose Longoria, Regional Superfund Project Manager for Yakama Nation Fisheries. “The decision to add Bradford Island to the Superfund list is a major first step in getting EPA and the Corp to expedite cleanup actions.”

The island and surrounding waters are fishing areas for multiple Tribes. Today, Tribal people and diverse communities use the area for subsistence and recreational fishing, despite advisories warning not to eat resident fish such as bass and sturgeon. 

Resident fish caught near the island contain the highest levels of cancer-causing PCBs in the Northwest. The Oregon Health Authority and Washington Dept. of Health issued fish advisories warning people not to eat resident fish caught near Bradford Island.

“Working on the campaign to hold the government accountable for Bradford Island cleanup, I talk to Native Americans, Latinos, Eastern Europeans, and many others who come to the Columbia River to fish for fresh fish to bring to their tables and feed their families—not knowing that those areas where they fish are highly contaminated,” stated Ubaldo Hernández, senior community organizer with Columbia Riverkeeper, who shares fish advisory information with people who fish near Bradford Island.

About Columbia Riverkeeper

Columbia Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. Representing over 16,000 members and supporters, Columbia Riverkeeper works to restore a Columbia River where people can safely eat the fish they catch and where children can swim without fear of toxic exposure. For more information, go to


Thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for prioritizing cleanup of Bradford Island and surrounding waters.

Watch the EPA's press conference announcing the news:

Watch Ubaldo Hernández, senior community organizer with Columbia Riverkeeper: 

En Español: "Limpien la Isla de Bradford: