During a routine environmental investigation of a cleanup site in Blaine, crews found contaminated soil within the footprint of a new building that was under construction in the Blaine Harbor industrial area.
The Port of Bellingham and Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) removed approximately 230 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the construction site. The soil is contaminated with low levels of metals and hydrocarbons. The soil is stockpiled nearby while arrangements are made to properly dispose of it.
Crews have been investigating the area known as the Westman Marine cleanup site for contamination left behind from previous boat and shipyard work dating back to the 1940s.
The investigation is part of a larger effort by the Port and Ecology to determine the extent of historic contamination, design a cleanup project, and restore the site.
The approximately 1.5-acre site is located near the end of Marine Drive, off of McMillan Avenue. It includes land in and out of the water. And the new building under construction extended into the cleanup site.
While removing the contaminated soil in October 2013, crews also discovered remnants of a work area from a past boatyard, including a buried concrete vault. The soil beneath the vault was contaminated with diesel. Both the vault and contaminated soil were removed.
Rather than wait for the final site-wide cleanup work a few years from now, the Port of Bellingham has proposed an interim project to safely remove and properly dispose of the contaminated soil now.
Ecology invites the public to review and comment on the proposed interim project any time between Jan. 13 and Feb. 12, 2014.
Press Release, January 10, 2014