Friday, April 26, 2013

Around the Sound: DNR, Kitsap clean up toxic creosote

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Kitsap County Parks & Recreation are going to work next week to pull creosote-soaked debris from Kitsap beaches.

That includes old pilings treated with toxic creosote (similar to those shown in the photo to the right), as well as in-water structures and marine debris tainted with the nasty stuff.

For decades, creosote was used to coat wood pilings for docks and other structures built in and over Puget Sound waters. The creosote protects the pilings. It’s long-lasting – and that’s the problem.

Many of those structures have deteriorated or fallen into disrepair, but the chemicals from the creosote-treated materials continue to leach into the Sound’s water and sediments and onto its beaches.

Around June, Ecology plans to start work on the second phase of an extensive cleanup at the Custom Plywood site on the shore of Fidalgo Bay in Anacortes. It’s a major part of our Puget Sound Initiative work.

The first phase of cleaning up the former site of a burned-down mill was completed in summer 2011. Now it’s time to do some extensive in-water work, including removal of creosote pilings and other structures.

The plan also includes dredging out a large amount of contaminated underwater sediments.

Stay tuned for more details when the Custom Plywood project begins.

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