Friday, February 18, 2011

Around the Sound: Anacortes meeting focuses on old mill site cleanup

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

Staff from Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program will meet Thursday, Feb. 24, with Anacortes-area residents to talk about cleanup work planned this year at the former Custom Plywood mill site.

Proposed work in 2011 includes removing pilings and other structures to allow excavation of contaminated soil, as well as off-site disposal of the soil, structures and pilings.

Public Meeting on February 24

We’ll start with an open house at 4:30 p.m. at Anacortes City Hall in City Council Chambers, 6th Street and Q Avenue. A presentation will begin at 5:15 p.m., followed by an informal question-and-answer session.

The meeting coincides with a public comment period on draft documents related to the proposed cleanup work – a draft investigation report, draft interim cleanup action plan and draft State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist.

You can read our news release to learn how to review and comment on the documents.

About the mill cleanup site

The property – located on the Anacortes waterfront off 35th Street and V Avenue – once was a busy industrial site. A sawmill, a wood box factory and a plywood mill previously operated there.

But the mill eventually closed. And in 1992, it burned down. Now the abandoned site is littered with building remnants and debris, which make it a public hazard.

The accompanying photo, which I took in March 2010, shows what the site looks like.

Soil, groundwater and in-water marine sediments at the site are contaminated with a variety of pollutants. They include metals, petroleum products, dioxins, and wood debris.

The Custom Plywood site is one of several on Fidalgo and Padilla bays that Ecology is cleaning up under the Puget Sound Initiative. That’s an effort by local, tribal, state and federal governments, business, agricultural and environmental communities, scientists, and the public to restore and protect the health of the Sound.

An Ecology team is working with site owners, area tribes and others to help shape the cleanups.

In other news:

Chris Dunagan at the Kitsap Sun recently wrote about the status of the Puget Sound Partnership. Here’s his report on the agency, as well as a follow-up blog post.

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