USA: Ecology Seeks Comments on K Ply Cleanup Plan

Ecology Seeks Comments on K Ply Cleanup Plan

The Department of Ecology is seeking public comment on a proposed legal agreement with the Port of Port Angeles for cleanup of the K Ply site.

People can learn more about the proposal during an Oct. 22 presentation and open house. It will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Olympic Medical Center in Linkletter Hall, 939 Caroline St., Port Angeles. People can submit comments through Nov. 19.

The newly classified cleanup site also is commonly known as PenPly or Peninsula Plywood. A plywood mill formerly operated on the K Ply property from 1941 to 2011. Past business activities contaminated soil and groundwater. The port owns the property, at 439 Marine Drive, which is now occupied by vacant former mill structures.

Rebecca Lawson, Southwest Region section manager for Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program, said: “This site originally was part of a site called the Marine Trades Area, but it is being separated off because investigations showed the contamination at the K Ply and Marine Trades Area properties is separate.”

“There are safety concerns at the K Ply property – the mill structures are fire and safety hazards – and the proposed legal agreement would allow the port to begin addressing these hazards right away,” Lawson said. “The buildings need to be removed to allow access to the contaminated soil so that the investigation to determine the extent of contamination can be completed more rapidly.”

Work on interim actions at the K Ply site may begin before the public comment period ends. For example, the port may work on its process for hiring a contractor to tear down and remove hazardous structures on the site.

Lawson said: “We sometimes allow work to begin during the comment period when the liable party needs to start work right away to address a safety concern or meet another important deadline to get a project done on time. Most of the work will be done after the comment period ends, so there is lots of room to make changes based on public comment as the project proceeds.”

Port Executive Director Jeffery Robb said: “The Port of Port Angeles and Department of Ecology are working closely to clean up the K Ply site concurrent with the Marine Trades Area. We are on a fast track to accomplish this work and we appreciate the department’s commitment to move this project forward expeditiously. Environmental restoration of the site will allow us to redevelop for marine trades industry. New jobs are critical to our local economy and this site has significant economic opportunity.”

Once the comment period on the proposed cleanup plan closes, Ecology will make changes to the interim action plan or agreed order based on public comments if needed.

Cleaning up this site is important for Port Angeles Harbor and also for the health of Puget Sound In 2007, Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Washington State Legislature approved the Puget Sound Initiative to protect and restore the health of the Sound by 2020.

[mappress]

Press Release, October 17, 2012

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