Hylebos Cleanup Plan Gets Port and Occidental Approval

“The Port of Tacoma and Occidental Chemical Corporation have agreed on a proposal to spend $20 million to $25 million for an environmental cleanup of the outer Hylebos Waterway, according to the Port.If the agreement is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the project will be the third major cleanup in the Commencement Bay Nearshore Tideflat portion of Puget Sound since the bay was declared a Superfund site in 1981. Work could begin in 2000 and be completed by 2002.“This is a creative, collaborative effort to ‘jump start’ cleanup of this major waterway,” said Clare Petrich, president of the Port of Tacoma Commission. “The Port and Occidental are committed to being proactive on environmental issues. We’ve spent nearly 20 years and millions of dollars on numerous environmental studies, and it’s time to make progress toward a solution.”Under the agreement, which was approved unanimously by the Port Commission on November 4, the Port will work with Occidental to design, fund, and implement a consent decree to be negotiated with the EPA for performance of a large portion of the Hylebos cleanup. This proposal would be the first phase of addressing the total Hylebos issue.In 1989, the EPA determined that cleanup of portions of the Hylebos Waterway was required. The Port and Occidental were among more than 100 entities listed by the EPA as potentially responsible parties. According to the Port, since 1983, the Port and Occidental have been working with the EPA and other companies to complete the assessment of the waterway.The agreement between the Port and Occidental calls for sediment in the outer and upper Hylebos to be cleaned up, with most of it being dredged and deposited in the Port’s Slip One facility at the north end of the Blair Waterway. The dredged material would be covered with a thick cap of clean material and pavement.The Port used a similar technique when it did environmental cleanup on the Blair and Sitcum waterways, with dredgings deposited in the Milwaukee Waterway and paved over for use as container terminal storage.”