Department of Ecology News Release - September 24, 2015

Port Gamble Bay cleanup begins Monday

PORT GAMBLE – Equipment is rolling in by land and water this week as workers prepare to remove decades-old contaminated sediments and other materials from Port Gamble Bay.

Contractor Orion Marine Group will launch a major cleanup project Monday by starting to pull old, creosote-treated pilings out of the water. Pope Resources is responsible for the cleanup under the Washington Department of Ecology’s oversight.

Cleanup work is scheduled to continue into early 2017. The project will remove about 6,000 pilings from water and land, and demolish piers, docks and other structures. About 70,000 cubic yards of wood waste and contaminated sediments will be either dug up and removed, or capped with clean material. Marine habitat impacted by the cleanup will be restored.

For more than 140 years, the now-defunct Pope & Talbot Inc. used the site to manufacture wood products. Pope Resources was created in 1985 when Pope & Talbot spun off its timberland and development properties in Washington. Pope Resources took ownership of the mill site and leased it to Pope & Talbot until the mill shut down in 1995.

Since then, the mill property has been used for sorting and chipping logs, and for handling materials. Historical activities at the site contaminated the mill site and in-water sediments with creosote, dioxin and wood waste.

This week, the contractor is bringing in excavators, a barge and a crane. Office space, containment areas and security fencing are being set up.

Work will be done on weekends and at night. Weekend work is scheduled to begin Oct. 3 and 4 to take advantage of low tides. More barges are expected to arrive in late October. The community and tribes can get weekly updates and other information while the project continues.

Port Gamble Bay is one of seven priority bays identified for cleanup under the Puget Sound Initiative. That’s an effort by governments; tribes; business, agricultural and environmental communities; scientists and the public to restore and protect the Sound’s health. An Ecology team is working with Pope Resources, tribes, local governments, and others to clean up and restore Port Gamble Bay.

Contact:

Seth Preston, communications, 360-407-6848, @ecologyWA