Ecology meeting tonight on amending Rayonier cleanup
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
A bulldozer works on the site of the former Rayonier paper mill in Port Angeles on Tuesday.

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A newly routed Olympic Discovery Trail will wend its way about a mile near the northern shoreline of Rayonier Inc. property, following the path of piping that will be laid for the city's $41.7 million combined sewer overflow — or CSO — project.

Heavy-equipment operators were working on the path this week at Rayonier as they demolished a bridge over Ennis Creek.

A proposed CSO-related amendment to the mill site cleanup agreement between the state Department of Ecology and Rayonier will be discussed at an Ecology-sponsored meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. today at Linkletter Hall at Olympic Medical Center, 939 Caroline St.

A 7 p.m. Ecology presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

The amendment “is intended to eliminate or substantially reduce one or more pathways for exposure to a hazardous substance.”

Pockets of contamination — PCBs, dioxins and other toxic chemicals — were left by the mill when it closed in 1997 after 68 years of operation.

The amendment will add the processing of soil excavated for the CSO project to Rayonier's existing cleanup agreement with Ecology.

Deadline for public comment on the amendment is next Wednesday.

Comment can be made tonight to site manager Marian Abbett or emailed to

More information is at

The purpose of the CSO project is to reduce stormwater and raw-sewage discharges into Port Angeles Harbor.

Trenches for the CSO project will be dug beginning in September, city Public Works and Utilities Director Glenn Cutler said.

The trenches will hold pipes that will make their way over the creek under a new 100-foot bridge and to a 5 million-gallon tank formerly owned by Rayonier on the site that will store overflow sewage and stormwater.

The tank also is being worked on this week, Cutler said.

The CSO work is being conducted under a $16.3 million contract with IMCO General Construction of Ferndale that constitutes Phase 1 of the project.

The bridge, which will have a single traffic lane, will become part of the trail and will be designed to add a second traffic lane.

“If we do redevelopment down there, we might as well have a bridge we can drive vehicles over,” Cutler said.

The new section of Olympic Discovery Trail will replace a section of trail that is on the southern edge of the 75-acre parcel.

Abbett said Tuesday that soil from the CSO trenching is planned to be placed on a plastic liner and be covered with plastic, then be sampled for contaminants as part of the final cleanup.

Cultural monitors for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe and city archaeologist Derek Beery are observing the work, since the mill site is above the remains of an ancient Klallam village.

Cutler said in an earlier interview that the city and tribe have done exploratory work at the site and that the city has chosen “a low-risk route for the piping and ground-disturbing activities.”

Rayonier removed an estimated 90 percent of contaminated soils “a number of years ago,” said Charles Hood, Rayonier spokesman, Tuesday.

Ecology is still determining the scope of the cleanup and how much it extends into Port Angeles Harbor, he said.

The company has spent about $30 million on cleanup, Hood said.

“We are committed to cleaning it up,” Hood said.

The company does not now have equipment on the site, he said.

A fence surrounds the property.

“I don't think the fence will come down at this point,” Hood said.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at

Last modified: August 28. 2012 5:58PM
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