Rayonier Inc. operated a pulp mill in Port Angeles from 1930 until 1997, when they closed and dismantled it. Over the years, the mill emitted hazardous substances that still pollute the land and water. Ecology is working with Rayonier to investigate the contamination and clean up the environment.
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The former pulp mill is located at 700 North Ennis Street in
Port Angeles. The mill property sits on Port Angeles
Harbor, at the mouth of Ennis Creek.
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Ecology is investigating two areas outside of the Study Area to help determine the extent of contamination from Rayonier or other potential sources.
The mill produced pulp using what is called a sulfite process. Sulfite and acid were used to break down wood to get out the cellulose—the fibers that make up paper and other products. The pulp from the Rayonier mill was sold to companies that made photographic film, fabrics, and plastics.
(Look at the timeline for an overview of the site history. A more detailed history of the mill can be found in the Public Participation Plan.
When these industrial wastes were released into the environment, they carried pollutants into the air, water, and soil. These pollutants have been detected within the study area:
Rayonier closed their Port Angeles mill in March of 1997.
That year, a group of individuals and organizations petitioned
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate
the site. Based on an extensive study, EPA concluded that
the site was eligible for the
However, state and local officials asked that the site be
cleaned up under Washington’s
Model Toxics Control Act. In 2000, EPA agreed to
defer listing the site on the Superfund list.
In 2002, Ecology and Rayonier entered into an Agreed Order
for investigation of the marine portion
of the site. In 2004, they entered into a similar
agreement for the upland portion of the site. For the next few years, Rayonier worked on
these investigations, as well as several partial cleanups,
called Interim Actions. These actions include soil excavation
and removal of concrete foundations and piping, and a fuel tank.
More information about this work can be found on the
Interim Actions page.
In 2007, Ecology gave the City of Port Angeles $50,000 in funding to explore visions for the future use of the Rayonier site. The City has brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to begin this process. In 2009, Ecology provided the city with $230,000 to expand the visioning process and to integrate its combined sewer overflow realignment with cleanup. More information about this work is available on the Rayonier Mill Agreed Order Amendment webpage and in a 2009 news release.
In 2008, the City of Port Angeles and the Port of Port Angeles partnered to create the Harbor-Works Development Authority. In 2009, Ecology provided the agency with a $200,000 Integrated Planning Grant for a study to help it decide whether to purchase the Rayonier property. In September of 2010, Harbor-Works’ board voted to dissolve.
Ecology also provides Public Participation Grant funding to the Olympic Environmental Council. The grant is designed to help the organization encourage public participation in the cleanup process.
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