By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program
The 2011 Legislature provided Ecology with $6 million in the 2011-13 budget to work with communities to clean up several sites in Central and Eastern Washington.
The money comes from the state’s voter-approved tax on hazardous substances. Funds will be used exclusively in Eastern Washington to clean up properties where the responsible party (land user, facility operator or property owner) could not be found or can’t pay cleanup costs. These sites range from old gas stations where fuel leaked into groundwater, to former mining areas contaminated by cyanide, mercury, and other metals.
This Eastern Washington Clean Sites Initiative is a community-based effort that fits Ecology’s priority to “reduce toxic threats” to people and the environment. Ecology selected communities where a number of sites are concentrated so we can do work that produces a number of benefits with minimal investment.
Cleanups are planned in Buena, Sunnyside, Cle Elum, Richland, and Okanogan County in Ecology’s Central Region; and in Ione, Walla Walla and along the Spokane River in Ecology’s Eastern Region.
The first work kicks off in Buena with a public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Buena Nueva, 66 Highland Drive. Community members can learn more about a proposal to investigate and clean up petroleum contamination at the Gold Nugget Market and the former Roby’s Service Station.
You can read more about the meeting and the possible sites in this Ecology news release.
Recent news articles in the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Tri-City Herald also look at the Eastern Washington Clean Sites Initiative.