Oakland Bay Sediment Investigation

A PUGET SOUND INITIATIVE site – Reaching the goal of a healthy, sustainable Puget Sound now and forever

Click on map/photo for larger view


As part of Washington State’s efforts to restore the health of the Puget Sound, Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program investigated sediment pollution in seven Bays. These bays included Oakland Bay, Budd Inlet, Port Angeles Harbor, Port Gardner, Port Gamble, Fidalgo and Padilla Bays, and Dumas Bay. The goal is to locate and clean up contamination to protect and maintain sustainable use of valuable natural resources.

Ecology chose Oakland Bay because Shelton Harbor has a history of heavy industrial use and previous studies showed evidence of contamination. In addition, Oakland Bay is one of the most productive shellfish growing areas in the country. Industrial uses of Oakland Bay resulted in sediment contamination in Shelton Harbor and surrounding areas. Chemicals, woodwaste, and waste water from timber and wood product manufacturing industries have been discharged into Oakland Bay.


In 2008 and 2009, Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program conducted a sediment study to investigate the health of the sediments in Oakland Bay. Ecology summarized the results of the study in the Sediment Investigation Report, which was released for public review and comment in December 2010. The Sediment Investigation Report contains information about:

  • Location and amount of chemicals and woodwaste in the sediment.
  • Amount of sediment movement and deposition in Shelton Harbor and Oakland Bay.
  • Potential effects of sediment contamination on the health of creatures living on or in the sediment.
  • Possible sources of dioxin found in sediment.

A summary of the results of the investigation can be found here:  Slides from the December 15, 2010 public meeting.

Because of the sediment contamination identified in the study, Ecology requested that the Department of Health (DOH) evaluate sediment and tissue data from Oakland Bay. According to the Department of Health, it is unlikely that eating shellfish from or having contact with sediments in Oakland Bay or Shelton Harbor will harm people’s health. Read the DOH health consultation report.

If you would like to be added to our email or mail list to receive updates about Ecology’s work in Oakland Bay, please contact Natalie Graves at the contact information listed in the bar on the right.

Other Work in Oakland Bay

In 2011, Ecology did more sediment sampling in Oakland Bay.  You can now read the report here.

Ecology's Water Quality Program is currently developing a plan to address water quality problems in Oakland Bay, including fecal coliform bacteria.  For more information about this work visit http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/tmdl/oakland_bay/index.html.

The Oakland Bay Clean Water District is a multi-agency coordinated effort to restore the health of Oakland Bay.  To learn more, visit:  The Oakland Bay Clean Water District web site.


May 3, 2011

March 23, 2011

December 2010


Related Information

Additional Resources


Puget Sound Initiative Orca  SITE INFORMATION

Mason County

map showing site location as Mason County, WA

For more information about the sediments investigation, contact 

Joyce Mercuri Project Manager

For information about human health, contact
Len O’Garro
Washington Department of Health
Email: Lenford.O'Garro@doh.wa.gov
Phone: 360/236-3376
For information about
commercial shellfish harvest, contact

Bob Woolrich
Washington Department of Health
Email: Bob.Woolrich@doh.wa.gov
Phone: 360/236-3329

Document Review Locations:

William G. Reed /
Shelton Timberland Library
710 W Alder Street
Shelton, WA 98501
Phone: (360) 426-1362

WA Department of Ecology
Southwest Regional Office
300 Desmond Drive SE
Lacey, WA 98503

By appointment only:
Contact Susan  Baxter,
Susan.Baxter@ecy.wa.gov  or
(360) 407-6365