Two competing companies that handle hazardous waste are arguing over how much toxic pollution is being dumped into the Columbia River Gorge’s air by a hazardous waste operation in Eastern Oregon.

One of the companies, TDX, claims that the other company, Chemical Waste Management of the Northwest Inc., is emitting more than 2 tons of mercury per year into the air from its operations in Arlington, Ore., some 50 miles east of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

TDX operates a hazardous waste plant in Texas, but none in Oregon. Both companies compete for a slice of the nation’s hazardous waste handling, storage and disposal business.

This week, TDX issued a 200-page report indicating hazardous waste disposal plants similar to the one in Arlington emit as much as 59,650 micrograms of mercury for every cubic meter of waste they process. These plants take in oil waste and then extract any contamination before recycling the used oil.

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