Rayonier Mill cleanup

We are working toward a safer, cleaner waterfront and harbor in Port Angeles with the Rayonier Mill cleanup. It is a complex project with a long history, and one of several cleanup projects near Port Angeles Harbor.

Techniques for making wood pulp, which were standard at the time and are now outdated, polluted the area on and near the former mill. Rayonier A.M. Properties LLC (Rayonier) is working under our oversight to characterize and clean up that contamination.

Along with Rayonier, we work with tribal representatives and many stakeholders to move cleanup forward in a way that considers the larger Port Angeles community.
Aerial photo, 1944. Looking south from Port Angeles Harbor onto the Rayonier Mill and nearby landscape.

Rayonier Mill, 1944

Decades of industrial activity at the former Rayonier Mill led to contamination in the water and sediments of the harbor and in upland areas around the mill. For many years, we've worked behind the scenes with Rayonier A.M. Properties LLC (Rayonier) to learn what contamination came from where, how much there is, and how to clean it up.

This cleanup is a long, complex undertaking. We are committed to doing thorough work that upholds Washington’s laws and high standards. Explore the related links section below to learn more about what we’ve done, what we plan, and how the public can be involved.

What’s new

The technical report that describes the types and amount of contamination in the marine portion of the project, called the Marine Data Summary Report, is ready for your review. Together with the Upland Data Summary Report, this gives a full picture of the contamination in the Rayonier Mill study area. This and other milestone cleanup documents will be available for public comment before they are finalized.

Our work with tribes & stakeholders

Because this cleanup project has a big impact on Port Angeles and the larger community, we involve many stakeholders and tribal representatives to make our work successful. These groups, and the general public, are invited to share their comments on milestone cleanup plans and documents. In 1999, we formally agreed with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe that we would not move forward with major cleanup decisions without the Tribe’s concurrence.

Other groups we work with on the Rayonier Mill cleanup include:

Public Participation Grants may be available for non-profit organizations interested in monitoring the cleanup and helping to prevent pollution. Olympic Environmental Council has been a grantee.

When will cleanup be finished?

If you have followed the activity of this cleanup project for long, it is likely that you've noticed changes to the dates of cleanup goals at Rayonier Mill. We follow a process to maintain accountability and motivate progress that allows for updates and extensions to the timeline. Dates associated with cleanup goals are estimates.

For example, as the overseeing authority, it is important for us to maintain the ability to request major revisions to complex reports when they don’t meet our standards. We have also extended the timeline to adjust to big changes in the Sediment Management Standards, which significantly impacted our approach to cleanup in Port Angeles Harbor.
An estimated timeline of milestone events in the Rayonier Mill cleanup. Two public comment periods are estimated in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Each comment period centers on planning documents.

Estimated timeline for Rayonier Mill cleanup.