Contractors have begun an environmental cleanup project to remove contamination at the Harris Avenue Shipyard site on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham. Crews will remove contaminated sediment, soil, and treated wood from a portion of the site. The contamination is from past shipbuilding and maintenance activities, and is not related to current shipyard operations.
Approximately 1,300 cubic yards of contaminated soil and 10,200 cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be taken from the site. Workers will also demolish an existing wood building and creosote-treated wood pier. Crews will then install a concrete pier supported by steel pilings. Tests have found soil and sediment at the site contaminated with heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, semivolatile organic compounds, and petroleum hydrocarbons.
Soil removal is underway and in-water construction activities will start Aug. 1. The project is expected to finish mid-2019.
The Port of Bellingham is completing the project under a legal agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology. The cleanup is expected to cost about $14 million. Ecology will reimburse half the cost through the state’s Remedial Action Grant program, which helps pay to clean up publicly owned sites through a voter-approved tax on hazardous substances.
The project addresses about one third of the 10-acre Harris Avenue Shipyard site. A cleanup plan for the entire site is expected to be complete within the next two years.
The Harris Avenue Shipyard site is one of 12 cleanup sites around Bellingham Bay that are part of a coordinated effort by federal, tribal, state and local governments to clean up contamination, control pollution sources and restore habitat.