Ecology to offer update on Port Angeles Harbor cleanup at Tuesday open house

PORT ANGELES — Representatives of the state Department of Ecology will talk about the status of the Port Angeles Harbor cleanup at a public open house Tuesday.

The open house at the Klallam Heritage Center at 401 E. First St., in Port Angeles will start at 6:30 p.m., followed by a presentation and a question-and-answer session, according to an announcement from Ecology. Refreshments will be served.

“The public has been asking for news of when Port Angeles Harbor sites would be cleaned up,” said Darlene Schanfald, the Olympic Environmental Council project coordinator for the Rayonier site cleanup.

“The state Department of Ecology staff overseeing the Rayonier Mill-Port Angeles Harbor cleanups will inform us about the cleanup status of each harbor area,” she said.

“This is a great opportunity to get substantial information and have your questions answered.”

Topics will include, according to Ecology:

• Finishing cleanup work at the former plywood mill site on Marine Drive. Ecology said that the cleanup has included removing more than 50,000 tons of contaminated soil.

• Integrating new standards into the sediment cleanup plans for western harbor and Rayonier.

• Finishing a study that helps define cleanup levels for the North Olympic Peninsula region.

• The status of the cleanup process at each of the cleanup sites around the harbor.

• What Ecology anticipates in the future.

The harbor cleanups were broken into five areas with liable parties identified, Schanfald said.

The plywood mill site, the former KPly mill, “is essentially done,” she said. “They did a great job.”

Still in progress are:

• Rayonier Mill property, adjoining sediments and upland soils.

• Western Port Angeles Harbor and a number of properties including the Nippon Paper Industries USA mill, which recently was purchased by McKinley Paper Co., a U.S. subsidiary of Mexico-based Bio Pappel S.A.B. de C.V.

• The old Unocal Bulk Plant upland site on Marine Drive.

• Marine Trades Area upland and marine areas.

The 75-acre Rayonier site two miles east of downtown on the harbor was closed in 1997 and has been an Ecology cleanup site since 2000, when the state agency took it over from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Ecology’s Southwest Region Manager Rebecca Lawson said last month that the cleanup might not be completed until 2026.

By 2011, Rayonier had trucked off about 90 percent of the contaminated soil at the site, company officials said. Cleanup responsibilities for the site switched to Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. (Rayonier AM) in 2014 when it split off from Rayonier Inc.

Liable parties for the western harbor are Georgia Pacific, Merrill &Ring, the City of Port Angeles, the state Department of Natural Resources, the Port of Port Angeles and Nippon.

For the Marine Trades Area, the port and Chevron are the responsible parties, Schanfald said, adding that Chevron also is the responsible party for the Unocal site at 738 W. Marine Drive.

For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/PDN-ecologyharborcleanupmeet.

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