Harbor work to cost Port Angeles more money

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The city will pay an environmental consulting firm an additional $120,300 to continue work leading up to a years-long study of the contaminants in Port Angeles Harbor and who should be held responsible for cleanup.

The $120,300 figure is part of the $200,000 the city expected to pay earlier this year for Integral Consulting’s work in preparation for the harbor cleanup study, City Attorney Bill Bloor said in a Thursday interview.

Port Angeles City Council members Tuesday approved 6-1 the $120,300 addition to Integral’s contract, with Councilman Max Mania opposed.

The state Department of Ecology has identified the city as a “potential liable party” in the contamination of Port Angeles Harbor and expects the city to pay its share of the study, meant to determine how best to remove contaminants from the harbor.

Bloor said the city will work with the other potential liable parties — Nippon Paper Industries USA, Georgia-Pacific LLC and the Port of Port Angeles — and Ecology to establish an agreed order laying out the scope of work for the study.

The city is on track to have the agreed order done by the end of this year, “which would be quite an accomplishment,” Bloor said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Cost of study

The city expects to pay about $1 million, along with the other potentially liable parties, over the next two years to fund the study.

Bloor said Integral Consulting’s expertise was needed to handle the technical side of working with Ecology to figure out what tests and processes will be used to study the harbor, since the city does not have the staff resources to complete this work.

“It’s not just a cookie-cutter solution,” Bloor said.

“It has to be tailored for the specific circumstances here.”

The $200,000 in preliminary costs this year are being funded by a $4.50-per-month surcharge, expected to last 30 months, tacked on to wastewater charges for the city’s residents and businesses.

Reimbursement

However, Bloor said the city could be reimbursed for the $200,000 through agreements with the other potentially liable parties or the acquisition of grants from Ecology.

“The city is hopeful that we will have grants,” Bloor said.

Councilwoman Sissi Bruch asked if the city has started tracking staff costs associated with the cleanup study so far.

City Manager Dan McKeen said the city is fully intent on tracking expenses in preparation for applying for a grant that could pay for 75 percent of cleanup study costs, minus attorney fees.

“So we need to start tracking all those costs, including city staff time,” McKeen said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 08. 2012 5:48PM
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