Cresote-tainted pilings, docks to be removed in Jefferson County
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Beginning Nov. 4 and continuing into next year, the state Department of Natural Resources will take out pilings and several thousand square feet of overwater structures at seven sites from Port Townsend Channel southward to Point Whitney in Hood Canal in the $588,000 project.
Most of the removal sites provide habitat for forage fish and migrating juvenile salmon that feed on them, DNR said.
Creosote, containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), was used historically to prevent wood decay and insect infestations.
Studies show that creosote leaching into the water causes higher mortality rates, reduced growth, and altered immune function in marine species, DNR said.
“DNR’s Creosote Removal Program has led the effort to remove toxic pilings, structures and debris from Washington’s waterways,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, who oversees the state department.
“This work is vital to restoring Puget Sound,” he said.
“The removal of creosote-treated pilings in Jefferson County is one of DNR’s largest efforts to date and will greatly contribute to the health of the Sound.”
Once the project is complete, DNR will have removed about 2,714 piles and 36,987 square feet of overwater structure in Jefferson County.
Here is the tentative removal schedule for creosote-treated pilings and structures.
Dates could change depending upon weather and other conditions.
■ Port Townsend Channel — Nov. 4-7, removal of about seven pilings and pile stubs, or remnants.
■ South Oak Bay — Nov. 8, removal of two dolphins, which are groups of pilings placed close together and connected above the water level, and about seven pilings.
■ Port Ludlow Bay — Nov. 9-12, removal of about 41 pilings.
■ South Point Ferry Dock and vicinity — Nov.13-Dec. 7, removal of about 365 pilings, the 4,200-square-foot ferry dock, the 400-square-foot timber trestle and other structures.
■ Point Whitney — Dec. 9, removal of about 25 pilings.
■ Dabob Bay — Dec. 10, removal of about six pilings.
■ Quilcene Bay — Dec. 11-Jan. 8, removal of about 402 pilings.
Old pilings and structures also create public safety hazards, DNR said.
Many have broken apart, and their remnants — often unseen just below the water — can damage boats.
Floating debris can wash up on beaches.
The contractor for the project, Blackwater Marine, LLC, of Kirkland, will use a vibratory hammer that loosens and breaks up any sediments that have bonded to the submerged piling, to ensure that the entire piling comes out without breaking, DNR said.
Funding comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under a Puget Sound Ecosystem Restoration and Protection Cooperative Agreement grant with the Washington Department of Ecology.
From 2004 through February 2013, DNR removed more than 10,000 pilings as well as 213,000 square feet of overwater structures, such as docks and piers, and more than 2,700 tons of treated beach debris throughout Puget Sound.
For more information about the Jefferson County project, see 1.usa.gov/1dsRLoD.
Last modified: October 27. 2013 6:13PM