By Katie J. Skipper, Ecology communications manager, Bellingham Field Office
If you’re in Boulevard Park in Bellingham in the next few weeks, you’ll probably see crews operating some noisy equipment and examining soil, sediment and water samples. If you can’t make it to the park to see the action, check out the photo gallery of the week’s work in the right-hand column of the site Web page.
They’re collecting samples as part of a comprehensive environmental study of the area, looking for the location and concentration of contaminants from a gas plant that operated from the 1890s to the late 1940s. The plant made gas from coal for home heating and cooking. The only visible structures remaining are in the upper park: A small brick building (PDF 4.7 MB) near South State Street, and the concrete gas-holding tank (PDF 1.84 MB) that now has a gazebo on top of it.
The South State Street Manufactured Gas Plant site is one of 12 cleanup sites in the Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot. It’s about 6 acres at the north end of Boulevard Park.
Sampling at the park will continue into mid-September, and is being performed according to an Ecology-approved work plan (PDF 937 KB). Results of the sampling effort and an evaluation of cleanup options will be assembled into a report, which Ecology expects to present for public review in 2012.
Site work is being done under a legal agreement between Ecology, the city of Bellingham and Puget Sound Energy.
For more information about the sampling work, you can read the news release.