OSU-Cascades begins reclaiming former landfill for campus expansion

Oregon State University’s Cascades campus began full-scale excavation at the former Bend Demolition Landfill in December as part of its expansion master plan.

The landfill contains mostly wood waste and sawdust from Bend’s old mills, and test results reviewed by DEQ show the soil from the landfill can be safely reused as filler for new areas of campus. This allows OSU to reuse soil it already owns rather than having to purchase and transport additional soil from elsewhere. It’s also a boon for the environment.

“Soil itself is a natural resource, just like water. So if we can avoid using it, all the better,” said Bob Schwarz, DEQ cleanup project manager.

OSU will screen out the soil from the demolition waste and use it to raise the ground level of the adjacent former pumice mine for the first phase of the expansion. Some of the landfill soil will be blended with clean soil or pumice to ensure it has sufficient strength to serve as a foundation layer for future buildings.

DEQ issued a Beneficial Use Determination in December allowing OSU to use the landfill soil as a filler. Site development will include raising the elevation of the pumice mine floor by about 40 feet. OSU plans to expand its newest campus over portions of the former pumice mine and the demolition landfill.

“Future plans will include removal of the deeper waste on the east side of the landfill, which has been a concern because it generates a lot of heat as it decomposes,” said Schwarz. “That phase of the development will address the primary environmental issue at the landfill.”

OSU purchased the former landfill from Deschutes County under a Prospective Purchaser Agreement with DEQ in 2018. The agreement set requirements for safely removing waste from the landfill for the planned campus expansion.

DEQ’s Bob Schwarz, David Anderson and Ron Doughten are overseeing this work. Tracy England, Charles Kennedy and Scott Yankey are inspecting the construction.

Find more info about the site on the Bend Demolition Landfill ECSI page.

– Laura Gleim, public affairs specialist

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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