Oil found in old Port Angeles city dump

PORT ANGELES – The state Department of Ecology will dig test holes on Monday to discover the extent of a pool of oil and petroleum-soaked materials found under the site of the city’s closed landfill last week.

A construction crew working in the dark at 2:30 a.m. to take advantage of a low tide, found the petroleum about nine feet down.

The find early on Thursday morning brought to a halt for two days a Port Angeles bluff stabilization project.

Absorbent material and a city vacuum truck have kept the oil from getting into the sea water, said city spokesperson Teresa Pierce on Saturday.

At low tide on Friday morning, crews working under the supervision of the state Department of Ecology, dug a test pit about 35 feet to the west of where the oil was found, Pierce said.

No hazardous materials were found in the test pit and the state authorized the contractor, Glacier Construction, of Mukilteo, to continue installing riprap west of it, Pierce said.

Workers are installing a new sea wall and riprap to stabilize the bluff, and to keep the garbage that had been dumped near the water for decades from seeping and eroding into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

A statement from the city said that the Coast Guard and Ecology, as well as the city’s Public Works Department, were notified that morning.

Ecology is expected to provide more information to the city after Monday’s test holes.

Pierce said the state has not yet said how much, if any, of the contaminated soil will have to be removed.

Garbage was dumped at the landfill at the west end of 18th Street for 16 years.

The landfill accepted about 60,000 tons of garbage annually, including about 5,000 tons of recycling, which totaled 91 percent of Clallam County’s garbage.

It was closed in January.

The 44-acres site has been capped with a synthetic membrane, covered in dirt and seeded with grass.

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