Washington State Department of Ecology - September 16, 2013

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City of Yakima receives $200,000 grant to evaluate pollution at former Boise Cascade Mill

YAKIMA – The city of Yakima will use a $200,000 state grant to assess contamination at the former Boise Cascade Mill site. The study will help determine what cleanup at the site needs to be done to protect the environment and to bring new business and family-wage jobs to the community.

The city began the study this summer on the property at 805 N. 7th St. for brownfield redevelopment. The city expects to complete the work by the end of 2013, according to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), which provided the grant.

Brownfield sites are abandoned or underused properties where there may be environmental contamination. Redevelopment efforts are often hindered by the liability for the cleanup or the uncertainty of cleanup costs. Brownfield sites that aren’t cleaned up represent lost opportunities for economic development and for other community improvements.

The mill shut down in 2006 after operating for 103 years. The city will use the Ecology grant to study the extent and type of environmental contamination on the portion of the site where the plywood plant was located.

City of Yakima Strategic Project Manager Joan Davenport said: "The city appreciates the assistance of the Department of Ecology in funding the study by Landau Associates. The Mill Site Redevelopment Project is one of the city of Yakima's highest economic development priorities. A key step toward kickstarting the redevelopment of the property was getting this assessment done. With the help of Ecology grant funding, the city is going to be able to do that and keep the project on track."

"Ecology is pleased to see Yakima take this step forward. I know this has been on their radar screen for a long time. We’re happy to be a part of this exciting project for our community," said Valerie Bound, who heads Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program in Yakima.

"Not everyone understands how cleanup is important to the environment, health and economy of our local communities," she said. "We appreciate the ability to work with local partners like the city on projects that directly improve their communities."

Cleaning up and redeveloping a brownfield site can stimulate a community’s economy by returning a site to active use. That can increase jobs and the local tax base, mitigate public health and safety concerns, and improve the community's image.

The $200,000 in funding for the project comes from state’s voter-approved tax on hazardous substances.

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Media Contacts:

Joye Redfield-Wilder; 509-575-2610; 509-961-6277 cell; jred461@ecy.wa.gov
Valerie Bound, Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program, 509-454-7886; valerie.bound@ecy.wa.gov

More information:

Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup site page (wwww.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/cleanup.html)

Ecology’s Brownfields site page (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/brownfields/brownfields_hp.html)

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