Port amends cleanup agreement with Ecology

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — Formation of a draft cleanup plan is the next step for industrial property off Marine Drive that is contaminated by an underground petrochemical plume.

Port of Port Angeles commissioners Monday unanimously approved a cleanup-related amendment to an agreed order with the state Department of Ecology that focuses on the site west of downtown Port Angeles.

The agreement removes the property bordered by Cedar and Tumwater streets known as the marine trades area from the adjacent mill site at 439 Marine Drive, which most recently housed the Peninsula Plywood mill.

That site is undergoing demolition prior to its own cleanup and under its own agreed order.

“These are distinctly separate sites,” Robb told commissioners Jim Hallett, Paul McHugh and John Calhoun.

More than a half-dozen tank farms were on the marine trades site, Robb said.

Ecology, Chevron and the port have been working for about two years on the new agreement, he said.

The port will use insurance money for its portion of cleanup, Robb said.

“We still have some loose ends to tie up with Chevron and Exxon, and would hope to have [the order] signed this week, and not later than next week,” he said in a later interview Monday.

A remedial investigation and feasibility study of the site already have been conducted.

The order takes the cleanup process through the public review period for the draft cleanup plan.

A public comment period is expected in November.

There is not yet a time line for cleanup.

“Some [cleanup] could possibly be done in 2014,” Robb said.

The petrochemical — benzene — is shallow in depth but near the shoreline, a factor that may require construction of a shoreline barrier to ensure that the plume does not spread north.

“We are going to take proactive measures to make sure it doesn't get into the harbor,” Robb said.

Benzene is the only contamination on the site, he added.

A vapor extraction system might be used for cleanup, Robb added.

The $1.6 million demolition of the PenPly site included the leveling of a 180,000-square-foot mill building, the floor of which is being torn up and salvaged this week.

The 175-foot chimney stack on the PenPly site will be toppled March 25.

Demolition is slated for completion by May 3.

The PenPly site is contaminated with benzene and other petrochemicals as well as pentahlorophenol, a chemical also known as PCP that is used in treating wood.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 25. 2013 9:26PM
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