BELLINGHAM - A $25 million cleanup project will begin on Whatcom Waterway this summer, aimed at curbing the environmental damage from decades of industrial uses.
Besides removing contaminated sediment, the project also will remove creosote-treated timbers and concrete and asphalt rubble to create more natural shorelines in and around the channel at the mouth of Whatcom Creek, not far from the spot where the early white settlers built a sawmill. The area later became home to Georgia-Pacific Corp.'s pulp and paper mill and the Port of Bellingham's shipping terminal.
Before cleanup work begins, Ecology is making a draft engineering design report available for public review and comment through March 27, 2013.
Areas targeted for an environmental makeover are in and around the Bellingham Shipping Terminal, log pond and inner waterway. The work is expected to include:
removal of 159,000 cubic yards of contaminated marine sediment.
removal of 263 tons of creosote-treated timber.
removal of concrete and asphalt rubble and other debris from 46,950 square feet of shoreline and intertidal areas.
opening of 4,300 square feet of shoreline and intertidal area by removal of unused structures.
addition of 26,600 cubic yards of clean material.
removal of three vertical creosote bulkheads and replacement with flatter shorelines.
The cleanup of G-P's wastewater treatment lagoon is not part of this phase. That work is now tentatively scheduled to begin in 2016.
Once the public comment period ends, Ecology will respond to comments it has received and make necessary changes to the report.
The Whatcom Waterway is one of 12 sites around Bellingham Bay that are part of a bay-wide effort by federal, tribal, state and local governments to clean up contamination, control pollution sources and restore habitat.
READ AND COMMENT
The Washington Department of Ecology draft report outlining Whatcom Waterway cleanup is available at Ecology's website, the Bellingham Public Library, and Ecology's office in Fairhaven at 1440 10th St.
Comments can be submitted to Lucy McInerney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A public meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at the Douglas G. Smith conference room at the Technology and Development Center, 1000 F St., Bellingham.