Final cleanup to begin at former Pierce County landfill site

The final phase of cleanup work is expected to start in early August at the former B&L Woodwaste site in...

The final phase of cleanup work is expected to start in early August at the former B&L Woodwaste site in Pierce County, according to Washington State Department of Ecology officials.

The site along the border of Milton and Fife operated as a landfill from the mid-1970s until the early 1980s. The landfill took in wood waste, soil and Asarco smelter slag from log sort yards in Commencement Bay. The Asarco slag leached arsenic into the site’s soil and groundwater. In 1982, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the Commencement Bay Nearshore/Tideflats area, including Hylebos Waterway and the B&L Woodwaste site, to the National Priorities List, also known as the Superfund site list). The B&L Woodwaste site, which includes the landfill and surrounding ditches and wetlands, was named as a source of arsenic.

The Department of Ecology is managing cleanup activities at the site with funding from the B&L Custodial Trust. The trust is funded in part by the state’s bankruptcy settlement with Asarco, as well as through agreements with Murray Pacific Corp. and Louisiana Pacific Corp. Most of the cleanup work at the site already is done. The new round of work will start around Aug. 1 and continue into mid-October. Work will include removing arsenic-contaminated soils from drainage ditches that surround the site on three sides. Also, a new treatment system to remove contamination from groundwater will start operating. Residents, businesses and users of the Interurban Trail near the site might notice an increase in noise and dust while work is under way. The landfill will be fenced off.

More information is online here.

The former B&L Woodwaste site in Pierce County. (PHOTO COURTESY WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY)
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