Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oil seep now contained on Bellingham waterfront

---Dustin Terpening, communication manager, Bellingham Field Office---

For the past year there was a small portion of shoreline on the Bellingham waterfront where oil was seeping into Bellingham Bay.

Oil sheen

That was until last week, anyway, when crews completed a project to contain the seep.

We worked with the city of Bellingham to develop a project that would temporarily contain the oil seep until a permanent cleanup project gets underway in 2015.

The oil began seeping in December 2012 from the shoreline at the south end of Cornwall Avenue, in an area known as the RG Haley cleanup site. The city immediately deployed a boom and absorbent pads to help contain the sheen on the water, and maintained it for the past year.

Monitoring the oil seep

The six-acre cleanup site is contaminated with wood treatment chemicals and products from past industrial use.

To contain the seep, crews first cut down old pilings protruding from the beach.

Cutting down old pilings

Crews also removed large boulders and slabs of concrete.

Removing pilings

Then a layer of specially mixed sand and clay was spread out on the beach. The sand/clay mix is designed to absorb oil while allowing water to pass through.

Covering the beach with sand and clay

Then a layer of tough fabric and a thick layer of rocks were placed over the top to keep the sand/clay mix in place.

Laying the tough fabric sheet Covering with rock

Crews began work at the beginning of November, and worked nights when tides were lowest. Work was completed on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

With the temporary fix in place, we’ll continue to work with the city to develop the final site-wide cleanup.

Interim work is complete

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