Cost rises for removal of dioxin-laden rubble that once was PenPly stack
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The remains of the former Peninsula Plywood smokestack sit covered with plastic. -- Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The dioxin-laden Peninsula Plywood chimney stack that took hours to be toppled April 8 now will cost taxpayers $46,308 more to remove.

Port of Port Angeles commissioners have unanimously approved a change order in that amount, amending the $1.63 million contract with Rhine Demolition LLC of Tacoma.

The project was budgeted for $1.75 million, “so we’re still within budget,” port Director of Engineering Chris Hartman said Tuesday.

Rhine will begin hauling off the stack’s 1,000 tons of debris “possibly this week but more likely next week,” port Executive Director Jeff Robb said.

The rubble will trucked to Tacoma, loaded on a train and transported to the 2,545-acre Roosevelt Landfill in Klickitat County.

“It’s not considered a highly contaminated material,” Robb said.

“That’s why we are able to go into a regular municipal landfill,” he said, adding that if the Port Angeles landfill were open, the detritus could go there.

Demolition costs for the 19-acre site now “might lean toward $1.7 million,” Robb said, calling the change order “a significant change” in the contract.

“I look at it as a really successful project,” he added.

The site at 439 Marine Drive was home to plywood mills under various owners from 1941 until it closed for good in 2011.

The stack was the last structure to come down as the port continues an ongoing remedial investigation to determine the level of pollution that must be addressed before the property can be marketed for marine trades.

On April 8, explosive charges could not topple the structure as scheduled at 3:30 p.m.

It had to be cut into and lifted with a 70-ton jack before it crashed to earth 2 hours and 43 minutes later.

The original plan was to recycle the debris, but dioxin levels in ash that coated the inside of the massive cylinder were “considerably higher” than estimated, Hartman said in an earlier interview.

The contractor could have covered some expenses through recycling. Having to cart the debris to a landfill raises the costs.

Subsequent tests on dioxin levels in the brick and concrete determined that cleaning the material of dioxin would have created a higher risk of surface contamination to the surrounding area, according to a memo to commissioners.

But the rubble still can be deposited as solid waste at a limited-purpose or solid waste landfill, according to the memo.

Hartman has said the dioxin does not pose a danger to anyone who walks on the site or lives or works near the area, located on the edge of the downtown business district where Front Street meets Marine Drive.

The site-demolition contract with Rhine was slated for completion by May 3.

All debris from the site will be removed by about May 30, Robb said.


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

Last modified: May 14. 2013 6:27PM
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