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Radiation in Vancouver pond triggers review

first_imgA concentration of radioactive material above state standards has been found on the property of a chemical processing facility near the Port of Vancouver, prompting the state to ask for more oversight.The Washington Department of Health sent a letter to General Chemical, located at 2611 W. 26th Ave., last week, informing them that a pond holding wastewater from mineral processing had a high enough concentration of radium 226 to require a Radioactive Materials License.While a license is needed, there’s not enough of it to present any danger to the public, said Mikel J. Elsen, supervisor of waste management in the state Office of Radiation Protection.“There’s no threat to public health and safety that we’re aware of,” Elsen said. “It’s well below what could cause negative effects to the environment and humans.”General Chemical has been in Vancouver since 1941, and processes bauxite ore with sulfuric acid to form alum, a commonly used chemical, as a final product. The process also naturally generates the radium, which goes out with wastewater and other inert by-products. The wastewater is currently regulated under a state industrial permit with the Department of Ecology.last_img read more