GSI helped the Port of Morrow develop a better understanding of the geologic and aquifer characteristics underlying the Port’s facilities. GSI continues to ensure that the Port’s sustainable and cost-effective land application program meets the state and federal regulations set forth by the DEQ-issued Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) Permit.


The Port of Morrow covers approximately 12,000 acres of land along the Columbia River in eastern Oregon. Home to many industrial sites, the Port needed a sustainable and cost-effective way to manage industrial wastewater. Wastewater from agricultural food processors and other industrial tenants contain high levels of nitrates and organic compounds. This water could potentially be used as an effective fertilizer for agricultural fields in the area. In order to develop a land application program, the Port needed a deeper understanding of the hydrogeological conditions and groundwater movement in the area. The Port also was required to develop a land application monitoring program in order to meet DEQ’s technical concerns and provide additional information to refine the program’s compliance requirements.

GSI’s Solution

GSI worked with the Port and DEQ to address the groundwater quality and permit compliance issues. We conducted an extensive review of the geologic, hydrogeologic and water quality data available at the site, including drilling up to 10 geotechnical boreholes (to the top of basalt or 100 feet, whichever is reached first) focusing on assessing the presence or absence of the Alkali Canyon Formation and conducting aquifer testing. Using the current and new data, GSI developed a new groundwater monitoring plan based on the refined understanding of the groundwater flow system.

GSI assisted the Port in assessing groundwater quality trends from their existing data and negotiating with DEQ on the location of additional monitoring wells to complete the well network. This work lead to the development of alternatives to reduce the Port’s overall quarterly monitoring requirements.

GSI also worked with the Port to develop alternatives to improve the way the Port manages the wastewater, and worked to reduce overall costs through a feasibility study analysis.

In addition, GSI provided assistance with conducting a pilot project designed to assess the feasibility of utilizing hybrid poplar trees to reduce nutrient loadings to groundwater.

Recently GSI provided consulting services related to the on-going operation of the land application program, including:

  • Providing continued support on the Process Water  feasibility study
  • Preparing a Groundwater Quality Data Analysis Report for Farms 1 & 3
  • Supporting the implementation of the GW Monitoring Plan