Port could direct $5.1M toward Kaiser Aluminum site cleanup

The Port of Tacoma Commission is expected to vote this week on whether to spend approximately $5.1 million to continue...

The Port of Tacoma Commission is expected to vote this week on whether to spend approximately $5.1 million to continue its work cleaning up the former Kaiser Aluminum smelter site located on Tacoma’s tide flats.

The port purchased the 96-acre site 10 years ago for an initial cash payment of $12.1 million and moved ahead on a cleanup plan that involved removing and demolishing more than 70 vacant buildings on the site. In 2005, contractors demolished two massive domes that were used for nearly 45 years to store bauxite alumina. A year later, contractors used a controlled detonation to topple a nearly 40-year-old, 500-foot-tall smokestack on the site, which is located at 3400 Taylor Way, approximately four miles east of downtown Tacoma in the tide flats industrial area and adjacent to the Blair Waterway.

According to port staff, most of the environmental cleanup has been completed within six areas identified by the Port of Tacoma and the Washington State Department of Ecology. The funding request this week would pay to clean up two remaining areas by removing and disposing of asphalt and concrete pavements; re-using excavated and pavement materials; excavating existing soil and waste and segregating contaminated materials for disposal to approved disposal sites; establishing and maintaining site decontamination areas for soil processing; implementing stormwater best management practices during construction; backfilling and grading to conform with future rail and road corridors; and providing final closure reports and survey.

If approved by the commission, the port would advertise for bids in May and award a contract in June. The project would be complete in October.

The Port of Tacoma Commission is expected to vote on the issue during its meeting on Thurs., April 18 at The Fabulich Center (Room 104), located at 3600 Port of Tacoma Road. Commission meetings are streamed live on the Port of Tacoma’s Web site.

Darrell Ogden loads explosives into the base of a smokestack on the former Kaiser Aluminum site on the Port of Tacoma tide flats. The 500-foot tower was demolished on July 2, 2006, to make room for future growth at the port. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

 

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