BELLINGHAM - Soil, sediment and groundwater samples are being collected from a Fairhaven shipyard site as a first step toward designing an environmental cleanup project.
The Port of Bellingham property at 201 Harris Ave. has been used for shipbuilding and maintenance since the early 1900s. According to a press release from the Washington Department of Ecology, the contamination at the site is the result of past activities, and is not due to the current tenants - All-American Marine and Fairhaven Shipyard.
Contractors working for the Port of Bellingham will collect samples from in and around the property Monday, Jan. 28, through Feb. 2, and again on Feb. 14. The work is expected to cost about $130,000 and is part of an extensive environmental study being performed by the port that will be used to develop future cleanup plans. The Department of Ecology will split that cost with the port.
Previous sampling and investigations have found gasoline, diesel, oil, arsenic, metals, polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and more in the soils, sediment and groundwater. Their concentrations exceed standards set by the state's cleanup law. These contaminants are typical of historic shipyard operations throughout the Puget Sound, according to the Department of Ecology.
Once the actual cleanup work is ready to begin, port and state officials will work with the existing industries to minimize disruptions to their activities, Port Environmental Director Mike Stoner said.