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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2009
A new era begins Monday for historic Fidalgo Bay mill site

Ecology joint

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 10, 2009
09-138

OLYMPIA – Work to clean up and remake a major piece of the Anacortes waterfront starts Monday, June 15, 2009.

The cleanup of the former Scott Paper mill site is the largest single project to date to begin under the Puget Sound Initiative. The initiative is a comprehensive effort by local, tribal, state and federal governments, business, agricultural and environmental communities, scientists, and the public to restore and protect the Sound.

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is working on the project with the Washington Attorney General’s Office, the Port of Anacortes and Kimberly-Clark Corp. The Scott site totals about 41 acres between 17th and 20th streets, and east of Q Avenue in downtown Anacortes.

On Friday, June 12, a ceremony at the site will kick off the project. At 11:30 a.m., representatives of Ecology, the Attorney General’s Office, the Port and Kimberly-Clark will sign a Consent Decree. That’s a legal agreement that outlines cleanup work, responsibilities and funding. After the signing, ground will be broken to signal the start of site work.

“Thanks to the efforts of public and tribal agencies and the private sector, this project is a model for restoring and protecting Puget Sound. We’re taking a major step in improving and protecting the environment of Fidalgo Bay and Anacortes,” said Tim Nord of Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program. “This cleanup also will clear the way for future economic development at a key waterfront location.”

Attorney General Rob McKenna said, “This agreement ushers in a new day for Fidalgo Bay. Wildlife habitats and beaches will be restored and public access to the bay will expand. We’re proud of our work, along with Ecology, to ensure that that the Puget Sound ecosystem is enhanced and protected for future generations.”

Bob Hyde, Port executive director, said, “The Port of Anacortes appreciates the cooperative efforts of Ecology and Kimberly-Clark in bringing years of planning to the groundbreaking on this third, and largest, of five Port environmental projects coordinating cleanup, habitat restoration, and redevelopment efforts under our Focus Fidalgo framework. This extensive cleanup, in accordance with Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Puget Sound Initiative, will provide needed jobs, and once completed, a cleaner, safer and more accessible marine environment for our community.”

 Drew Barfoot, Kimberly-Clark’s Vice President of Environment, Energy, Safety, Quality and Sustainability, said: “Kimberly-Clark is proud to participate in this beneficial project for Fidalgo Bay, especially a project that improves the ecosystem and provides business development and recreational activities for residents in Anacortes. It is gratifying to be a part of the private and public partnership that worked together to make this project possible.”

Nord praised the cooperation and expertise provided by Ecology’s partners in the Scott site project – the Port, Kimberly-Clark, the Samish and Swinomish tribes, and the Attorney General’s Office.

“This project shows how building partnerships will lead to cleaning up Fidalgo Bay and the other high-priority bays around the Sound,” Nord said.

Site background

A lumber mill started operating at the site in 1890. In 1925, a pulp mill operation was added. In 1940, Scott Paper Co. bought the mills. The company closed the lumber mill in 1955 and the pulp mill in 1978. Scott sold the mill properties in 1979. In 1995, Scott merged with Kimberly-Clark.

In 1979, the Port of Anacortes bought the site’s north portion and used part of it as a log yard from 1990 to 1993. In 1998, this portion was divided into three parcels. Sun Healthcare Systems Inc. bought one of these parcels. In 1999, the port and Sun Healthcare Systems removed petroleum-contaminated soil and wood debris from the company’s parcel. They installed a 2-foot-thick soil cover and a soil containment wall along the shoreline.

In 1979, Scott Paper sold the south portion. The property was used in the early 1980s as a staging area for oil field equipment, boat manufacturing and storage. In 1990, MJB Properties bought the property and used it for assembling modular homes.

In 2008, Ecology investigated contamination at the site and in nearby aquatic sediments. The investigation showed:

  • Soil is contaminated with metals, petroleum products, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins/furans.
  • Groundwater shows sporadic low level contamination from petroleum products, arsenic, bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, sulfide, ammonia, and 4-methylphenol.
    • Aquatic sediments contain metals, PCBs and wood debris.

Planned work includes:

  • Digging up and removing contaminated soil, then backfilling with clean soil.
  • Monitoring groundwater for at least a year after the cleanup action is completed.
  • Dredging and removing contaminated surface sediments from intertidal and subtidal areas.
  • Dredging and removing wood debris, brick and pilings from the intertidal and subtidal areas.
  • Softening the beach for habitat by backfilling dredged areas with clean sand and gravel.
  • Controlling potential future shoreline erosion by placing structures offshore of the site’s north portion and using rock on the site’s south portion.
  • Digging up additional contaminated sediments and placing a minimum 2-foot-thick layer of clean sand, gravel and stone as needed along the shoreline.
  • Replanting damaged eelgrass habitat.

In addition, a settlement has been reached to address natural resource injuries at and around the site. The settlement includes:

  • Establishing 4 acres of eelgrass habitat offshore of the site.
  • Restoring 2 acres of beach habitat with a minimum of 2 feet of clean sand, gravel and cobble.
  • Providing money to carry out education projects. Anacortes School District will receive $100,000 to improve K-12 math, science and engineering programs. Western Washington University will receive $100,000 to support scientific research, K-12 education and public outreach.
  • Supplying $500,000 to the Northwest Straits Foundation for environmental restoration projects in Fidalgo and Padilla bays.

 

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Media Contacts:

Seth Preston, Ecology communications manager, 360-407-6848; 360-584-5744 cell; spre461@ecy.wa.gov

Tim Nord, Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program, 360-407-7226

Bob Elsner, Port of Anacortes director of engineering, 360-661-6192

Dave Dickson, Kimberly-Clark Corp., 972-281-1481

Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725

Learn about Ecology’s Fidalgo Bay cleanup efforts: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/sites/psi/anacortes/psi_anacortes_bay.html

Read more about work to restore and protect Puget Sound: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/puget_sound/index.html

Ecology’s Web site: http://www.ecy.wa.gov

 

 

 

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