Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Around the Sound: Latest Anacortes cleanup moving ahead

By Seth Preston, communications manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

In Anacortes, crews are wrapping up the latest round of work to remake and revive the large, former Custom Plywood site on the Fidalgo Bay shore.

Now Ecology will turn attention to a much smaller site near the Cap Sante Marina. We call it the Former Shell Tank Farm site. The Port of Anacortes, which owns the property, uses it as a parking lot for boat trailers and vehicles. (See photo at right.) The port is our partner in this and other projects.

Ecology just started a public comment period seeking people’s thoughts on proposed plans for cleaning up contamination at the Former Shell Tank Farm.

A common past

Photo of cleanup site at the former Custom Plywood site in Anacortes
Photo of cleanup site at the former Custom Plywood site
This site isn’t a “big” one in terms of size – it's only about six-tenths of an acre. But it’s part of our Puget Sound Initiative cleanup work for Anacortes and Fidalgo Bay. In fact, Fidalgo Bay is one of our “high-priority” areas.

Washington established the Puget Sound Initiative to protect and restore the Sound. Several bay-wide areas have been identified as high-priority cleanup areas – Port Gamble in Kitsap County; Padilla and Fidalgo bays in Skagit County; Port Angeles in Clallam County; Budd Inlet in Thurston County; Port Gardner Bay in Snohomish County; and Dumas Bay in King County.

This work aims to clean up contaminated sites within one-half mile of the Sound. Doing so will help to reduce pollution and restore habitat and shorelines.

Ecology in Anacortes

An Ecology team works with local governments, site owners, area tribes, and other stakeholders to help shape the cleanups at sites around the Anacortes area.
The sites share a common past: They have been impacted by pollution, mostly from historical industrial operations around the Anacortes waterfront.
The waterfront still maintains an industrial flavor, with Dakota Creek Industries and other boat-building operations. But it was once the home to even larger facilities, such as the former Scott Paper mill

Environment, economy, community

We talk frequently about how cleanup work does more than benefit the environment. That work creates and sustains construction jobs, and provides long-term opportunities for economic development and other projects. In turn, a healthier environment and a strong economy improve a community’s quality of life.

That concept of “environment, economy, community” is on display in Anacortes, where the waterfront is now a mix of commercial, industrial and public uses.
Some examples: Other projects are coming up. The Former Shell Tank Farm may just be a “small” piece of the Fidalgo Bay cleanup puzzle, but it’s symbolic of a much larger story that’s already showing success.

No comments: