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Photo:  Ships at Night


Commencement Bay stretches from Tacoma’s Point Defiance to Browns Point, and includes the Port of Tacoma.  Many rivers and creeks drain into the bay, creating what was once a habitat-rich estuary in the Tacoma Tideflats.  Over the past 150 years, Tacoma has developed the Tideflats into an industrial area through a process of dredging and filling. During this time, however, development and urban growth have polluted the waters and sediments of Commencement Bay.  This pollution harmed the health of the bay and posed risks to the local community, especially those who depended on fish to feed their families.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) have been working together for over twenty years to clean up and protect Commencement Bay.  USEPA is focusing on sediment cleanup through its Superfund Program, while Ecology works on cleaning up toxic sites and preventing future pollution through the Urban Waters Initiative.  The City of Tacoma is leading efforts to restore habitat and prevent future pollution to the bay.

How do I use this Web site?

This is a central place for information about toxics cleanup in Commencement Bay.  You can use the navigation bar on the left to link to history, maps, or specific topics.  You can also learn about similar projects in other parts of Washington, and explore other Ecology programs involved in cleaning up and protecting the bay.

For further assistance, please visit our list of contacts to reach staff.