Ecology, Rayonier talks over Port Angeles cleanup extended by 45 days

PORT ANGELES — Negotiations between Rayonier Inc. and the state to map out a study and partial cleanup of the 75-acre site of the old Rayonier pulp mill have been extended by 45 days.

Both sides agreed to extend the negotiations on the legal agreement, called an “agreed order,” to Jan. 11, the state Department of Ecology announced Monday.

The two sides had hoped to finish the agreement by Thanksgiving.

Ecology proposed a draft legal agreement on Sept. 28.

“We’re making significant progress,” said Rebecca Lawson, Ecology’s regional cleanup manager.

“We are close to having the technical details worked out, and I am confident that we will come to an agreement by the Jan. 11 deadline. We’re both determined to move forward.”

The draft agreed order required Rayonier to finish soil sampling to fill data gaps on the property at the foot of Ennis Street.

Study area cleanup

It also required Rayonier to develop a plan to clean up the study area, which includes the mill site and a portion of Port Angeles Harbor extending one mile to the northeast.

Ecology maintains that the study area does not define the extent of the cleanup area, which could be expanded if Rayonier is found responsible for further contamination.

The agreed order will be made available to the public before it is confirmed.

Pockets of PCBs, dioxin, arsenic and other toxins were found on the site after it closed in 1997 after 68 years of pulp mill operation.

It has been an Ecology cleanup project since 2000.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at rob.ollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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