Cleaning up: Bellingham waterfront site moves closer to cleanup

Join us for a walking tour of the RG Haley site hosted by RE Sources, a local nonprofit

Graphic of a bay and land distinushing between the two.

The site consists of an Upland Unit (about 6 acres) and a Marine Unit (about 60 acres). The Consent Decree includes an updated Cleanup Action Plan.

We’re one step closer to cleaning up the Bellingham waterfront and would like your input. We invite you to review a legal agreement for the cleanup of the RG Haley International cleanup site. The legal agreement, called a Consent Decree, is between us, the City and Port of Bellingham, and it requires the city and port to implement the cleanup action plan for the site. It includes an updated version of a cleanup action plan we finalized in 2018. Construction for the cleanup is expected to start early 2025. 

We invite your comments

You can review the Consent Decree at our RG Haley International webpage or at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225.

Comments will be accepted through March 12, 2024. You can submit comments online, by email, or mail to:

Lucy McInerney, Site Manager
WA Department of Ecology
PO Box 330316
Shoreline, WA 98133-9716

On-site walking tour

RE Sources, a local nonprofit organization, is hosting a shoreline walking tour of the site to provide project information. Ecology, city, and port staff will be available for questions. This walking tour is funded by a Public Participation Grant from Ecology.

The tour is from 12 p.m.–1:30 p.m., Tues., Feb. 27, 2024. Meet at the end of Cornwall Ave by the pocket beach (Bellingham, WA). For more information about RE Sources and the walking tour, check out their website.


An ariel view of water and land with industrial buildings.

Aerial view of RG Haley International site operations, 1953.

From the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, the site was used for industries including lumber, coal and wharf operations. RG Haley International Corporation was the last company to treat wood on the property (1955–1985). The preservative used in the wood-treating operations was pentachlorophenol mixed with a diesel-like carrier oil. This mixture was released to the environment during operations.

Contaminants are present in soil, soil vapor, groundwater, and sediment at concentrations that represent a potential threat to human and ecological health. Contaminants include the following:

  • petroleum hydrocarbons
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • pentachlorophenol
  • dioxins/furans

In addition, a plume of potentially mobile light non-aqueous phase liquid is present near the shoreline.

Public Participation

You can learn about our plans to keep the public informed and engaged by checking out our Public Participation Plan. This plan includes information about opportunities to get involved, outreach activities, and how we will receive information and comments from the public.

Cost and funding

Construction of the cleanup action is estimated to cost about $21 million. The city and port are funding partners for the cleanup, and are eligible for reimbursement of up to half of their costs from us through the state’s Remedial Action Grant Program, which helps pay for the cleanup of publicly owned sites. The Washington State Legislature funds the grant program with revenues from a tax on hazardous substances.

Bellingham Bay Cleanup

The RG Haley International site is one of 12 Bellingham Bay Cleanup sites coordinated through the Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot. The pilot is a bay-wide multi-agency effort to clean up contamination, control pollution sources and restore habitat, with consideration for land and water uses.