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Plan for Cornwall Avenue Landfill Cleanup Ready for Review

Thursday, May 29, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsay Kittleson
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Plan for Cornwall Avenue Landfill cleanup

ready for review

Public comment period runs through July 2 

BELLINGHAM – A cleanup action plan has been completed for the Cornwall Avenue Landfill site on the Bellingham waterfront. The $9.1 million cleanup will prevent people, plants and animals from being exposed to contamination through the installation of a liner and clean soil, and the stabilization of the beach to prevent erosion. 

The Washington Department of Ecology prepared the plan as part of a legal agreement between Ecology, the city of Bellingham, the Port of Bellingham, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources. The public is invited to comment on the plan from June 2 to July 2.

The waterfront site is located between Boulevard Park and the former Georgia-Pacific pulp mill and is most recognizable today for the large mounds covered with white plastic. The site had multiple uses throughout history including a saw mill, city landfill and, most recently, warehousing and log storage. 

An estimated 295,000 cubic yards of municipal waste and 94,000 cubic yards of wood waste are buried in the ground. Known groundwater and sediment contaminants include ammonia, manganese, phthalates, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), cPAHs (carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), and metals. 

In 2013, an environmental report identified the magnitude of the contamination and evaluated potential cleanup options. Based on that information, the agency selected a cleanup plan that will be implemented by the port, city and Department of Natural Resources. 

Specifics of the plan include:
  • Spreading the mounded, dredged material and covering it with a plastic liner and clean soil to create a low-permeability layer (called a cap) on the upland area, and
  • Adding a stabilization-and-sand filter system, plus a thin-layer sediment cap on the shoreline. 
A deeper underwater area also needs to be addressed before the site is fully remediated. Ecology plans to analyze contaminant levels in broader Bellingham Bay to understand how this area compares. Once research is completed, Ecology will amend the cleanup plan.

Ecology is hosting a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 5, at the Bellingham Public Library in the Lecture room. Ecology representatives will be present to provide details and answer questions. 

The proposed plan and related documents can be reviewed at Ecology’s website and in person at:
  • Ecology Bellingham Field Office, 1440 10th St. Suite 102, Bellingham
  • Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave., Bellingham
  • Ecology Northwest Regional Office, 3190 160th Ave. SE, Bellevue

Comments can be sent to Mark Adams, Ecology site manager, in writing to or 3190 160th Ave. SE, Bellevue, WA 98008-5452.

 Washington State Recycling Association | 545 Andover Park W, Ste 209, Tukwila, WA 98188 | 206.244.0311 |

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