Department of Ecology News Release - February 26, 2013

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Cleanup report for Whatcom Waterway in Bellingham ready for review - Report available online and at March 6 community meeting

BELLINGHAM – In an effort to clean up low levels of historic contamination in the Whatcom Waterway on Bellingham’s waterfront, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and Port of Bellingham are preparing for a $25 million cleanup this summer.  

Before cleanup work begins, Ecology is making a draft engineering design report available for public review and comment through March 27.

The report provides engineering details for the first phase of construction to clean up mercury and other contaminants in and around the Whatcom Waterway.

Specific areas of cleanup in the waterway will be near the Bellingham Shipping Terminal, Log Pond and Inner Waterway. Plans to clean up a wastewater basin known as an “aerated stabilization basin” are not included in this report. This will be part of a later phase of work expected to begin in 2016.

As part of the phase one cleanup, crews expect to:

The cleanup work will have substantial environmental benefits, greatly improving the quality and quantity of aquatic habitat in Whatcom Waterway.

The draft report is available at Ecology’s website, the Bellingham Public Library, and Ecology offices in Bellingham and Bellevue. Comments can be submitted to Lucy McInerney at  lucy.mcinerney@ecy.wa.gov

Engineers from Ecology and the port will also be available to answer questions and provide details about the draft report at a community meeting on March 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Douglas G Smith conference room of the Technology and Development Center, 1000 F Street in Bellingham.

Once the public comment period ends, Ecology will respond to comments it has received and make necessary changes to the report.

The Whatcom Waterway 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, plays a major role in the multi-agency effort toward restoring Puget Sound.

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Media Contacts:

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

Mike Hogan, Port of Bellingham environmental analyst, 360-676-2500 or mikeh@portofbellingham.com

For more information:

Pictures (www.flickr.com/photos/ecologywa/sets/72157632864481877/with/8511597854/)

Whatcom Waterway website (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=219)

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