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Groundwater Protection Program

  • To keep groundwater safe, the City regulates businesses that use hazardous chemicals or products. Groundwater protection regulations apply to businesses that transport, store and use hazardous chemicals in specific quantities. See regulated chemicals.

    New to the groundwater protection program?

    For businesses new to the program, regulatory requirements will be implemented in phases. Phase 1 compliance is due by June 28, 2024. Learn more about program requirements and deadlines.

    Annual training

    Regulated businesses in the groundwater protection area are required to take an annual training. 

    About the protection program

  • Business Requirements

    Businesses using chemicals or hazardous materials over specified amounts must: 

    • Attend a free annual pollution prevention training. 
    • Create and maintain a spill response plan and team.  
    • Submit an annual report and site plan.  
    • Place spill kits, signs and other spill control measures on site. 
    • Use secondary containment for hazardous chemical storage.

    City staff provide free training and on-site technical assistance.

    Best management practices 

    • Select non-toxic or low-toxicity chemical alternatives. 
    • Safely contain toxic products.
    • Train employees how to safely use, transport, store, and clean-up toxic products.
    • Stock supplies for cleaning up spills. 
    • Safely dispose of toxic products. 
    • Keep storage and use areas clean. 
    Compliance Deadlines

    The City expanded the groundwater protection area. Business new to the groundwater protection program are required to meet the following regulatory requirements.  The requirements are applied in phases.

     Due June 28, 2024

    Phase 1:  Reporting and operational requirements

    • Submit Annual Report & Site Plan 
    • Annual training completed for staff
    • Spill Plan & Spill Groups implemented
    • Preliminary and final phase 1 Inspections complete 
    • Plan in place for meeting phase 2 requirements

    Due June 28, 2025

     Phase 2: Minor cost structural systems placed.

    • Submit Annual Report & Site Plan – annual requirement 
    • Annual training completed for staff – annual requirement 
    • Preliminary and final phase 2 inspections complete
    • Plan in place for meeting Phase 3 requirements, if needed

     Due June 28, 2026

     Phase 3 – Moderate cost structural systems placed

    • Submit Annual Report & Site Plan – annual requirement   
    • Annual training completed for staff – annual requirement
    • Preliminary and final phase 3 Inspections complete
    • Plan in place for meeting phase 4 requirements, if needed

     Due June 28, 2027

     Phase 4 – Major structural systems placed

    •  Submit Annual Report & Site Plan – annual requirement 
    •  Annual Training completed for staff – annual requirement
    •  Preliminary and Final Phase 2 Inspections complete 


    Regulated Chemicals

    The summary below lists the types of chemicals and quantities of chemicals regulated under the Groundwater Protection Program.  

    • Halogenated solvents: 10 gallons or 100 pounds at ≥10% concentration by weight. 
      • Including industrial cleaners, glues, and degreasers. 
    • Hazardous substances: 50 gallons or 400 pounds at ≥10% concentration by weight. 
    • DEQ hazardous wastes: 30 gallons or 220 pounds, at any concentration.  
    • Petroleum products, except fuels: 50 gallons or 400 pounds at ≥10% concentration by weight, stored in any single container with capacity >50 gallons. 
    • Petroleum-based liquid fuels (gasoline and diesel): 50 gallons or 400 pounds, stored in any single container with capacity >50 gallons.   
    Groundwater Protection Area

    The cities of Gresham, Portland and Fairview manage the Groundwater Protection Program. There are now three wellfields that are protected to keep groundwater safe. Gresham expanded the protection area to include the Cascade wellfield. The expanded area provides greater protection to the underground aquifer that supplies drinking water. 

    View the groundwater protection area  map

    Site Inspections

    City staff inspect businesses periodically to ensure compliance with groundwater protection regulations. The site inspection includes: 

    • A risk assessment, based on chemicals used and the quantities stored.  
    • Storage methods and storage location. 
    • How chemicals are transported on and off site.  
    • Spill risk level and spill areas.  
    Training and Technical Assistance

    City staff provide free training to businesses located in the protected groundwater well field. Training includes:  

    • Learning the potential risks to groundwater from hazardous materials.  
    • Understanding spill response and contacting authorities.
    • Locating and reading the Safety Data Sheet (SDS), formerly Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
    • Training personnel to handle spill control and response. 
    • Reviewing a Facility Information Report.  
    • Reviewing reports.
    • Reporting and procedures. 
    • Proper spill equipment for your site.
    • Proper secondary containment systems for your site.  
  • Contact us 

    For more information, or to request copies of any of the documents on this page, contact Clay Walker at 503-618-2487 or

    Report a spill

    • Report hazardous spills by calling 911.
    • To report spills of non-hazardous materials call the City’s Operations and Maintenance office: 503-618-2626
    • After hours, call the City’s Public Works on-call notification number: 503-661-3906.
    • Report illegal dumping on private property to Code Compliance at 503-618-2248 or through My Gresham.
    • Report illegal dumping on public rights-of-way to Metro's Regional Illegal Dumping Patrol at 503-234-3000.
    • Report erosion concerns to 503-618-2474.