Washington State Department of Ecology - July 26, 2013

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Public invited to comment on proposed consent decree for Pacific Wood Treating cleanup site at Port of Ridgefield

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is seeking comments on a proposed plan for cleaning up a significant portion of the Pacific Wood Treating site at the Port of Ridgefield in Clark County.

The site was contaminated with many toxic chemicals including metals, volatile organic compounds, dioxins, pentachlorophenol, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and petroleum hydrocarbons between 1964 and 1993 when Pacific Wood Treating Corp. operated there.

The former business, which went bankrupt in 1993, pressure-treated wood products with the chemicals. The port has been working with Ecology since the early 1980s to clean the site up so it can be put it back into productive use.

Ecology is seeking public comment through Aug. 23 on four cleanup documents:

Ecology also wants public feedback through Aug. 8 regarding the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review of cleanup work.

Documents related to both the cleanup and SEPA comment period may be reviewed at:

Comments should be submitted to Ecology site manager Craig Rankine, Department of Ecology, Vancouver Field Office, 2108 Grand Blvd., Vancouver. Contact Rankine at 360-690-4795 or craig.rankine@ecy.wa.gov.

The proposed cleanup plan would extend a soil cap to cover port-owned property to contain remaining pollutants. The plan also calls for actions to address contaminated sediments in Lake River and Carty Lake.

Port of Ridgefield CEO Brent Grening said the port and Ecology have been working closely for many years. "Together we’ve made great progress at the site. The port’s environmental goals are being met, clearing the way for economic development. The port plans to redevelop the site as a mixed use community waterfront."

The contamination also extends beyond the port-owned property and areas where Pacific Wood Treating operated. Pollutants affect Lake River that feeds into the Columbia River, a Ridgefield residential neighborhood and the adjacent Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program regional section manager Rebecca Lawson said, "Putting a cleanup plan in place will be a critical step toward improving the environmental health in this area. It also will enable the port to move forward and return more than 40 acres of waterfront property to productive use."

Lawson said the site has been a priority for Ecology because the contamination was so extensive. Wood treating chemicals do not break down easily, and pose a long-term risk to human health and the environment.

Once the public comment period ends, Ecology and the port will finalize the documents, incorporating changes as needed based on public comments, and then cleanup work detailed in the action plan can begin.

More information about cleanup activities at the Pacific Wood Treating Corp. site, including past accomplishments, is available on Ecology’s web site. Ecology has provided more than $70 million in grants and loans to the port to help clean up the site.

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Media Contact:

Linda Kent, 360-407-6239; cell, 360-791-9830; linda.kent@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Ecology’s Pacific Wood Treating web page (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=3020)

Ecology Toxics Cleanup Program (www.ecy.wa.gov/cleanup.html)

Ecology’s website (www.ecy.wa.gov)

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