Photo Credit: PHOTO COURTESY OF COLUMBIA RIVERKEEPER - The Army Corps of Engineers agreed to restrict toxic discharges at the Bonneville Dam, shown here, and seven other dams along the Columbia and Snake rivers.  Columbia Riverkeeper announced a major legal agreement Monday with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which agreed to end toxic oil leakages at eight of its dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

The deal settles a lawsuit filed a year ago by Columbia Riverkeeper, a Hood River-based advocacy group, to press the federal agency to comply with the Clean Water Act.

“For years, the Army Corps has allowed harmful oil pollution to flow into the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and finally that will stop,” says Brett VandenHeuvel, Columbia Riverkeeper executive director. “With the dams coming into compliance with the Clean Water Act, we will see an end to toxic discharges and chronic seepage of pollutants that have been harming our communities.”

Under the deal, the Army Corps agreed to seek U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permits under the Clean Water Act for eight of the largest dams on the river. The permits will limit the amount of oil and toxic pollution that can be discharged at the dams, and require the Army Corps to install the “best available technology” to controll spills.

The Army Corps also agreed to use biodegradable oils as lubricants in the dams instead of toxic petroleum products.

To see the settlement agreement filed with the court and other legal documents in the case:

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