Ecology Seeks Comments on Bellingham Waterfront Cleanup (USA)

Ecology Seeks Comments on Bellingham Waterfront Cleanup

The public is invited to comment on proposed options for cleaning up the Cornwall Avenue site on the Bellingham waterfront through Sept. 20.

The Port of Bellingham, with Washington Department of Ecology oversight, compiled a draft report that details contamination found on the site and evaluates potential cleanup options.

Ecology is hosting a public meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wed., Aug. 28, at the Bellingham Public Library in the Lecture room to provide more details and answer questions. A presentation begins at 7 p.m.

The approximately 16-acre cleanup site is located on the waterfront between Boulevard Park and the former Georgia Pacific pulp mill. It is most recognizable today for the large mounds covered with white plastic.

Extensive sampling found hazardous substances in the groundwater, soil and sediment.

It’s estimated that there are more than 295,000 cubic yards of municipal waste and 94,000 cubic yards of wood waste buried in the ground.

Some of the contamination associated with this waste includes: tannins and lignins, phenols, ammonia, manganese, benzene, phthalates, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).

The draft report uses a cost-benefit analysis to identify a preferred cleanup option that protects human health and the environment through a variety of containment and control features.

For the upland portion of the site, the preferred option includes a protective liner and layer of soil (known as a cap), an improved stormwater drainage system, a system to control landfill gas, and a legal covenant to provide permanent protection to these facilities.

For the shoreline and marine portion of the site, the preferred option includes stabilizing the beach to prevent erosion, a sand filter for groundwater treatment, a layer of sand over exposed refuse and wood waste near the shoreline (known as a cap), and monitoring of natural sedimentation further out in the bay.

The preferred cleanup option is estimated to cost $9.1 million. Ecology will reimburse up to half of the port’s costs through the state’s remedial action grant program, which helps to pay to clean up publicly owned sites. The Legislature funds the grant program with revenues from a tax on hazardous substances.


Press Release, August 23, 2013