Public asked to comment on Anacortes waterfront cleanup proposal

Comments are being sought on proposed documents that will help shape the cleanup of a large section of Anacortes waterfront, which could spur economic development and recreation along Fidalgo Bay in Washington state. Fidalgo Bay, one of the priority waterfront areas identified under the state's Puget Sound Initiative for fast-track cleanup and restoration, represents true progress in restoring the Sound while contributing to community economic development and quality of life...

OLYMPIA, WA, Aug. 28, 2008 -- Comments are being sought on proposed documents that will help shape the cleanup of a large section of Anacortes waterfront, which could spur economic development and recreation along Fidalgo Bay.

Fidalgo Bay, one of the priority waterfront areas identified under the state's Puget Sound Initiative for fast-track cleanup and restoration, represents true progress in restoring the Sound while contributing to community economic development and quality of life. Since Fidalgo Bay was designated as a priority bay in 2007, several key milestones have been reached in investigating and cleaning up waterfront sites.

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), the Port of Anacortes, Kimberly-Clark Corp. and MJB Properties have drafted documents related to possible cleanup work at the former Scott Paper mill site. The documents include a report that outlines results of a site investigation and proposes cleanup alternatives. Ecology also proposes a draft public participation plan. This plan explains how the agency will make documents available for review and comment, involve interested people and consider public comments related to cleanup decisions.

Ecology will accept comments from Friday, Aug. 29, 2008, through Tuesday, Sept. 30. Ecology and the port will host two open-house events for people to ask questions and learn more about the proposed plans:

* Sept. 16, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Seafarers' Memorial Park building, 601 14th St., Anacortes
* Sept. 17, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Seafarers' Memorial Park building

The Puget Sound Initiative is a comprehensive effort by local, state, federal and tribal governments, business, agriculture and environmental communities, scientists and the public to restore and protect the Sound.

The former Scott Paper mill site is located between 17th and 20th Streets, and east of Q Avenue. Metals, petroleum products and other chemicals contaminate the site and nearby aquatic sediments. A lumber mill operated there starting in the late 1800s. A pulp mill also operated there from roughly 1925 until 1978. The site now is divided into north and south portions.

In 1979, the Port of Anacortes bought the north portion and used part of it as a log yard from 1990 to 1993. In 1998, this portion was divided into three parcels. Sun Healthcare Systems Inc. bought one of these parcels. In 1999, the port and Sun Healthcare Systems removed petroleum-contaminated soil and wood debris from the company's parcel. They installed a 2-foot-thick soil cover and a soil containment wall along the shoreline.

In 1979, Scott Paper sold the south portion. The property was used in the early 1980s as a staging area for oil field equipment, boat manufacturing and storage. In 1990, MJB Properties bought the property and used it for assembling modular homes.

MJB is working on a plan for a marina in the south portion. The marina could include docks with slips for pleasure boats and float planes, along with a promenade and room for parking.

>>View the proposed documents for the former Scott Paper site

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