BELLINGHAM - Cleanup will start Monday night, Jan. 7, on a small section of shoreline near downtown Bellingham contaminated with petroleum, according to the Washington Department of Ecology.
Crews from Bellingham's Ram Construction will dig out about 80 truckloads of petroleum-contaminated soil and sediment from a 5,000-square-foot portion of beach at the Central Waterfront cleanup site, near the west end of C Street.
They will then install a liner to prevent recontamination and rebuild the beach with clean material.
The work will take place at night, when tides are at their lowest, and it is expected to be completed in mid-February.
The contamination is from an old bulk fuel storage facility that operated in that area from 1904 to 1987. Ecology staff wanted to address the site now because it has been intermittently leaving an oily sheen on the water, first noticed in February 2012.
The project, which is required by an Ecology-approved cleanup plan, is expected to cost the city and Port of Bellingham $500,000. Half of that will be reimbursed by Ecology through the state's remedial action grant program, which helps pay to clean up publicly owned sites.
This project is just a piece of the cleanup at the 55-acre Central Waterfront site. The state, port and city are working together to develop long-term cleanup plans for the entire site.