Department of Ecology News Release - January 24, 2013

13-025

Additional sampling planned at contaminated shipyard site in Fairhaven

BELLINGHAM - Crews will collect additional soil, sediment and groundwater samples from a shipyard in Fairhaven to better locate and define the extent of contamination on the property located at 201 Harris Ave. This area has been used as a shipyard since the early 1900s, and past shipbuilding and ship maintenance operations contaminated portions of the site.

Contractor crews working for the Port of Bellingham will collect samples from in and around the property Jan. 28, 2013, through Feb. 2, and again on Feb. 14. The work is expected to cost about $130,000 and is part of an extensive environmental study being performed by the port, which will be used to develop future cleanup plans.

The Washington Department of Ecology designated the property (owned partly by the state and port) as a cleanup site, and is overseeing the sampling and future cleanup. A 2010 legal agreement between the port and Ecology requires the port to assess contamination and cleanup options.

Ecology will reimburse half the port's costs through the state's Remedial Action Grant program. The program helps pay to clean up publicly owned sites and is funded with revenue from a voter-approved tax on hazardous substances.

Previous sampling and investigations have found gasoline, diesel, oil, arsenic, metals, polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and more in the soils, sediment and groundwater. Their concentrations exceed standards set by the state's cleanup law and will be addressed. These contaminants are typical of historic shipyard operations throughout the Puget Sound.

Two tenants currently lease the property from the Port of Bellingham - All American Marine, and Fairhaven Shipyard's Puglia Engineering - but neither caused the contamination.

The Harris Avenue cleanup site is one of 12 sites around Bellingham Bay that are part of a coordinated, bay-wide effort by federal, tribal, state and local governments to clean up contamination, control pollution sources and restore habitat. The pilot program, known as the Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot, is a major step toward restoring Puget Sound.

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Media Contacts:

Dustin Terpening, Ecology media relations, 360-715-5205; dustin.terpening@ecy.wa.gov

Carolyn Casey, Port of Bellingham communications manager, 360-676-2500; carolync@portofbellingham.com

For more information:

Harris Avenue cleanup site (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=193)

Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/sites_brochure/blhm_bay/blhm_bay.htm)

Ecology's social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)