What we've learned: extent of contamination

Most of the progress we've made on the Rayonier Mill cleanup has been behind the scenes, gathering the information we need to plan efficient and effective cleanup actions. These studies influence work on this project and also inform cleanup activities in the region. You can find out about our work:

  • Defining the types and amounts of contamination in the marine and upland portions of the study area.
  • Investigating the sources and concentrations of dioxin in soil near the former mill.
  • Estimating amounts of contaminants that are introduced to Port Angeles Harbor but don’t have a clear source.

We can conduct long-lasting and effective cleanups when we understand which contaminants are present, where they are, their concentrations, and the possible approaches to cleanup. Answering these questions thoroughly has been a big part of our work for the Rayonier Mill cleanup. The series of reports that follow tell that story.

Interim Action Report: Volumes I, II, and III

Upland Data Summary (Volume I)

Map showing the marine and upland study areas for the Rayonier Mill cleanup.

Rayonier Mill cleanup upland and marine study areas.

The former mill site, nearby coastal bluffs, and the path of Ennis Creek make up the upland portion of the Rayonier Mill study area. The Upland Data Summary describes the types and amounts of contamination in these upland areas.

Read the report:

Marine Data Summary (Volume II)

Most of the Rayonier Mill study area is made up of marine waters and the sediments off the shore of the mill property. The Marine Data Summary describes the types and amounts of contaminants in these marine portions of the study area.

Read the report:

Interim Action Alternatives Evaluation (Volume III)

The Interim Action Alternatives Evaluation report describes cleanup options and weighs them. To evaluate these options, we consider how long each one might take, what the associated costs are, and how well each option could protect human health and the environment. We anticipate the report will be available for public review in 2017.

These documents make up the foundation of our cleanup work at Rayonier Mill. Once all three are complete, we will invite you to review them and share your comments during a public comment period.

Port Angeles Harbor Sediment Dioxin Source Study

Port Angeles Harbor is one of seven Puget Sound bays at the center of the Puget Sound Initiative. We used special funding from the Puget Sound Initiative to investigate the sources of sediment pollution and develop a strategy for cleaning up the harbor.

You can read more about this study on our harbor-wide projects page.

Off-Property Soil Dioxin Study

We studied soil in upland areas near the former mill to learn whether operations at the mill contributed to elevated dioxin levels and look for specific areas of concern. In 2011, we released a draft report on the study.

Learn more:

North Olympic Peninsula Regional Background Study

If we removed every contaminant in Port Angeles Harbor, would the sediment, air, and water entering the harbor re-contaminate the area? An update to the rule that guides our cleanup work in sediments introduced the concept of background chemical concentration levels to address questions like this.

In 2016, we completed a study of the regional background levels of several contaminants found in Port Angeles Harbor. The results of this study, in combination with our understanding of the risk contaminants pose to human health and the environment, help us decide cleanup levels. You can read more about the North Olympic Peninsula Regional Background Study on our harbor-wide projects page.