BELLINGHAM - Contaminated soil was found under a parking shelter for Whatcom County-owned trucks this spring, and the County Council on Oct. 22 voted to spend $40,000 to cover the unexpected cleanup cost.
Workers were preparing to lay concrete over the dirt floor of the truck shed when petroleum was found in the soil, county Public Works Director Frank Abart said.
The contamination was the result of years of oil drips from county trucks and other equipment, Abart said. Public works employees removed 416 tons of contaminated soil from the 60-by-200-foot open-air shelter that resembles a carport.
Roughly, that's 350 cubic yards of soil or 35 large dump-truck loads.
County employees trucked the soil for proper disposal at Cemex USA in Everett. The disposal cost was $20,000. The full cost of the cleanup included consultation by Bennett Engineering of Bellingham for $9,000, and soil removal and hauling for $11,000.
The truck shed was the oldest of three at the public works central shop at 901 W. Smith Road. No contaminated soil was found when concrete floors were poured at the other two, Abart said.