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Interim cleanup plan for Bellingham waterfront site up for public comment

A $14 million cleanup plan for part of a contaminated Fairhaven waterfront site is ready for review.

The plan calls for the removal of contaminated sediment, soil and creosote-soaked pilings from the shipyard at 201 Harris Ave.

The Port of Bellingham property has been used for shipbuilding and maintenance since the early 1900s. The contamination is from past activities, and is not due to the current tenant, according to the state Department of Ecology.

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 Ecology.

Under the interim plan, crews will remove about 15,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and more than 500 wood pilings. They will demolish the carpenter building and the pier it sits on.

Ecology will reimburse up to half of the cost of the cleanup through the state’s Remedial Action Grant Program.

The proposed plan and other documents can be found by searching for “Harris Avenue Shipyard” at ecy.wa.gov or in person at Ecology’s Bellingham office, 1440 10th St., Suite 102, or Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave.

Through April 7, comments can be sent to John Guenther, Ecology site manager, at john.guenther@ecy.wa.gov or mailed to the Bellingham office address.

Ecology will host a public meeting about the plan from 6 to 8 p.m. March 26, at the Technology Development Center in the Douglas G. Smith conference room, 1000 F St. in Bellingham.

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