Thursday, May 23, 2013

Around the Sound: Work underway at the K Ply cleanup site

By Connie Groven, Site Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

Here the K Ply smokestack is being covered so that asbestos can be scraped from the surfaces the port could reach. January 29, 3013

The past few weeks have seen a lot of activity at the K Ply cleanup site (also known as PenPly or Peninsula Plywood). You can see pictures of the April 9 smokestack demolition here and the whole demolition process here.

The Port of Port Angeles is nearly finished tearing down former mill structures, except for the concrete floor slabs. Interim action fact sheet.

Why is the smokestack rubble contaminated with dioxins?

Before toppling the smokestack, the port removed asbestos from the outside of the smokestack (see photo to the right). They also removed residues from other parts of the smokestack that they could reach.

However, over the years, more ash than expected got trapped inside the walls of the smokestack. The port was able to reach the ash after the smokestack was on the ground.

The port sampled the residues inside of the smokestack walls after toppling it. They also sampled the ash trapped between the walls and inside the liners in the lower part of the stack (see diagram to the right). This confirmed that the ash was contaminated with higher levels of dioxin than expected.

What is happening to the smokestack rubble?

Because of the dioxins in the residues on the concrete and bricks, the port removed the smokestack rubble with the ash. They have taken the debris to a landfill in Roosevelt, WA that can accept this type of waste.

The port also looked at cleaning the ash off the smokestack rubble. This would have allowed them to send the ash to a special landfill and recycle the rubble on the site. However, they found that ash had contaminated too much of the rubble and the cleaning process would be very difficult, so this was not be feasible.

How will the port investigate site contamination?

The port is taking soil samples from the property to confirm areas that need to be stabilized or covered while they finish investigating the site. You can read more about plans for sampling and stabilizing the site in the interim action work plan and the responsiveness summary.

The port is also developing a plan to finish investigating the type and extent of contamination on the site. This sampling will start in the summer. Then they will develop a remedial investigation and feasibility study report, and a draft cleanup action plan.

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