Department of Ecology News Release - July 9, 2014

Plan for Georgia-Pacific West cleanup ready for review
Public comment period runs through August 27

BELLINGHAM – A plan to cleanup the Georgia-Pacific West site on the Bellingham waterfront is ready for public review. The $5.7 million plan addresses the pulp and tissue area of the site, and calls for soil removal and capping, groundwater monitoring, and requirements to ensure the long-term effectiveness of the cleanup.

The proposed plan is part of a legal agreement between the Washington Department of Ecology and the Port of Bellingham. The public is invited to comment on the plan from July 14 to August 27.

The former Georgia-Pacific mill manufactured pulp for tissue and other paper products. The mill also operated alcohol, lignin, acid and steam plants, as well as stored fuel. Today, the 31-acre pulp and tissue mill area of the site is mostly vacant and contains contaminants that include metals, low pH, petroleum hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, and dioxin/furans.

In 2005, the port acquired property within the Georgia-Pacific West site with plans to redevelop into commercial, retail and/or residential use. Since then, the port completed interim cleanup measures that removed contaminated soil and building materials. To expedite cleanup and support redevelopment, in 2013 the Georgia-Pacific West site was divided into two separate areas now known as the pulp and tissue mill area and the chlor-alkali area. A cleanup action plan for the chlor-alkali area of the site is currently in the initial stages of development and is expected to be issued for public review in early 2015.

The proposed cleanup for the pulp and tissue area will remove 2,000 cubic yards of petroleum contaminated soils, and dispose at a landfill. In addition, 31 acres of contaminated soils will be capped with pavement, new buildings or soil. The plan also calls for continued groundwater monitoring to confirm that levels of contamination in groundwater continue to decrease, and it places deed restrictions on the property to ensure continued protection of human health and the environment.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed plan and related documents, which can be reviewed at Ecology’s website and in person at:

Comments can be sent to Brian Sato, Ecology site manager, in writing to brian.sato@ecy.wa.gov or 3190 160th Ave. SE, Bellevue, WA 98008-5452.

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Contact:

Krista Kenner, communications, 360-715-5205, @ecyNorth