Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Around the Sound: Major Anacortes cleanup set to start

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

Cleanup crews will:You can see some major makeover work along Fidalgo Bay’s shoreline if you’re in the Anacortes area this summer and fall.

Starting in mid-July, work will start at the former Custom Plywood site off 35th Street and V Avenue on the Anacortes waterfront (shown at right in an Ecology file photo).
  • Remove about 1,100 old creosote pilings and more than 7,000 tons of other structures and materials.
  • Dig up and dispose of about 8 acres of in-water sediment contaminated with dioxins and wood waste.
  • Build a jetty extension and a new aquatic spit to prevent waves from eroding the shoreline and to improve the near-shore habitat.
  • Connect Fidalgo Bay with a wetland area that was created in 2011.
The project is expected to wrap up by the end of October.

This site is just one of several Anacortes-area sites that Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program is working to clean up under the Puget Sound Initiative.

The Custom Plywood site was home at various times to a sawmill, a wood box factory, and a plywood mill. Fire destroyed the closed plywood mill in 1992.

Later investigations showed the site’s soil contained elevated concentrations of heavy metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, dioxins, and furans. Groundwater beneath the site also contained elevated levels of arsenic, copper, and nickel.

In 2011, work crews removed pilings, other structures and mill debris from the 6-acre upland portion of the site. They dug up and disposed of about 33,600 tons of contaminated soil, which they replaced with about 39,000 tons of clean soil. They also created a wetland.

Current site owner GBH Investments LLC is using the property’s upland portion to store boats.

Ecology’s cleanup contractor, Orion Marine Contractors Inc. of Tacoma, and its subcontractors expect to employ about 25 workers daily on the project. Typically, cleanup workers provide a boost to the local economy because they spend money on food, fuel, lodging, and other goods and services in the community where they’re employed.

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