Tsunami Debris Costs Mounting

Aug 7, 2012

The costs of cleaning up Japanese tsunami debris along Northwest coasts are adding up. Oregon says it's reached the half-million dollar mark. And officials say debris is now being spotted in unexpected places.

Tsunami debris. It's not just for ocean beaches anymore.  "This stuff's coming into rivers now," says Mike Caldwell, Deputy Director of the Oregon Military Department.

"Tsunami debris is getting washed up the rivers with the high tides. And some of it's going to end up on private property. Some of it's going to end up in hard-to-get-at places because of the nature of the terrain. And that's a concern."

A concern, because some items found in the Columbia River near Astoria have had invasive species on them.

Caldwell says in Oregon, the cost of dealing with the tsunami debris has nearly reached $500,000. Oregon and Washington have each received $50,000 in federal clean-up aid.

Members of a task force convened by Oregon governor John Kitzhaber say they'll petition the federal government for more funding.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network