Department of Ecology News Release - June 27, 2016

Old landfill, sawmill near Anacortes focus of cleanup

Cleanup is planned at March Point Landfill on Padilla Bay in Skagit County.Cleanup is planned at March Point Landfill on Padilla Bay in Skagit County.

ANACORTES – A proposed cleanup of decades-old garbage, wood waste and other contaminants will protect the local environment and improve wildlife habitat along Padilla Bay’s shore in Skagit County.

The Washington Department of Ecology invites the public to comment on draft documents related to cleaning up contamination at March Point Landfill, 9663 S. March Point Road, Anacortes. The comment period lasts through July 28.

Ecology is working on the landfill investigation and cleanup under a legal agreement with Skagit County, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Shell Oil Co., and Texaco Inc.

Draft documents include the results of contamination investigations, possible cleanup options, and a public participation plan that details how people can be informed about the site’s cleanup.

Site history
March Point Landfill (sometimes called Whitmarsh Landfill) operated from 1950 until 1973. It was first used as an unregulated public dump and later became a county disposal area. Decades of household, commercial and industrial wastes were discarded there.

A sawmill operated at the site from the late 1980s to around August 2011. Wood waste up to 10 feet thick accumulated over large portions of the landfill. DNR removed much of the wood waste in 2014 and 2015.

Samples taken from surface water and water seeping slowly from the landfill showed metals, benzene, semi-volatile organic compounds, and pesticides. Seep water also contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Releases of methane gas were recorded within the landfill near the wood waste. Marine sediments showed no impacts above levels that require cleanup action.

March Point Landfill is among nine Puget Sound Initiative sites prioritized for cleanup in and around Fidalgo and Padilla bays in Skagit County.

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