State presents proposed cleanup plan for abandoned Rayonier site – PDN

The ongoing story of the cleanup of the environmental superfund site in PA. This site sits just east of the downtown, you can reach it as you take the walkway east from the port area. The hope and goal is to reclaim this for future generations.

Creation of open space for potential — though only occasional — use is included in a proposed cleanup strategy for the abandoned, still-polluted Rayonier pulp mill site and adjacent Port Angeles Harbor. The voluminous three-part study, and options it includes for the 75-acre industrial parcel east of downtown Port Angeles, were presented Wednesday at an Olympic Medical Center meeting room where some participants wanted more than that…To address soil pollution, 10 acres would be excavated to 1 foot deep and 0.5 acres to more than 1 foot. An additional 10 acres would be capped. To address groundwater pollution, air sparging — or the injection of air to disperse pollutants — would be employed to oxidize ammonia and metals in phases starting near the shoreline. To address sediment pollution in Rayonier’s portion of the harbor cleanup area — several other parties including the Port of Port Angeles are cleaning the western harbor — a log pond near a soon-to-be-removed 4-acre dock would be dredged. Sand, silt and gravel would be used as fill for dredged areas and berth and approach areas. It and the remainder of a sediment remediation area would be topped by a sand layer “to address sediment contamination and to provide suitable habitat,” according to the Volume 3 report. Cleanup costs of $24 million under the proposed plan will be borne by the land owner, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Rayonier Advanced Materials.  Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

State presents proposed cleanup plan for abandoned Rayonier site

EVENT: 28 May–7PM–PA Harbor Cleanup Update

Dr. Peter deFur, of Environmental Stewardship Concepts LLC, will tie together and update the public on the Rayonier and the Port Angeles Harbor cleanup efforts at a forum on Tuesday, 28 May at 7 PM in the Port Angeles Landing Mall 2nd floor meeting room.    The Landing Mall is on the east side of the Pt Angeles-Victoria B.C. ferry dock.

The Department of Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program is working to investigate and clean up contamination around Port Angeles from Harbor sources of pollution. Cleanup sites and investigations include the Rayonier Mill, the Harbor Sediments Investigation, the Rayonier Mill Off-Property Soil Dioxin Study, (dioxins in Port Angeles area soils), the North Olympic Peninsula Regional Background study, Western Port Angeles Harbor (Nippon and areas of Ediz Hook), KPly, and the Marine Trades Area (central portion of the Harbor). Dr. deFur will present a summary of the status of these efforts and provide comments on the various reports and activities.

Dr. deFur is Technical Advisor  for the Olympic Environmental Council Coalition for technical document reviews and public outreach and education.

Rayonier Mill: The Rayonier Mill was closed and demolished in 1997.  At present, the Department of Ecology is reviewing Rayonier’s report about sediment contamination in the immediate area of the former mill site.

Sediments Investigation and the Western Harbor Site: Through the Puget Sound Initiative, the Department of Ecology did a large-scale sediment sampling study in Port Angeles Harbor. The study found the highest contamination in the western harbor and near the former Rayonier Mill in the eastern harbor. Ecology identified the Western Port Angeles Harbor cleanup site based on the Harbor investigation findings. The responsible parties plan to do sampling for the Western Harbor investigation this summer.

Regional Background: This spring and summer, Ecology will sample sediments in bays east of the Harbor in an effort to determine background sediment conditions for the North Olympic Peninsula region. The Department of Ecology previously conducted a similar sampling effort in the Port Gardner (Everett) region.

Dr. deFur also serves as Technical Advisor to the non-profit citizen based Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, in addition to several other major hazardous waste cleanup sites throughout the nation.

Dr. Peter deFur is Olympic Environmental Council’s Technical Advisor for the Port Angeles projects through a grant from the Washington Department of Ecology.  Ecology reviewed this announcement for technical accuracy.  Olympic Environmental Council positions are not those of Ecology’s.

For additional information, contact Darlene Schanfald, <>

Port Angeles Harbor Natural Resource Trustees Sign Agreement

        PORT ANGELES — Local environmental restoration projects will get a boost thanks to an agreement signed today by federal, state and tribal natural resource trustees to jointly conduct Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) activities within Port Angeles Harbor.

        The NRDA process involves evaluating injuries to natural resources due to releases of hazardous materials and, potentially, asserting legal claims for compensation for those injuries on behalf of the public. Here, the trustees will be assessing injuries related to contamination within Port Angeles Harbor, including pollution from the former Rayonier pulp mill.

        The agreement sets up a Trustee Council that will undertake the assessment, including selecting any restoration projects that may ultimately be implemented to restore and compensate for the injured natural resources.

        The six trustees involved are the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.  Each of the six trustees has designated representatives to the Trustee Council.

        Under the agreement, all trustees have an equal status and voice in decision-making, and will work together to make the best possible decisions.  The Trustee Council will operate by consensus.

        The federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) is the law that authorizes the federal government, states, and tribes to act as trustees and to seek compensation on behalf of the public for natural resource injuries.  CERCLA also outlines the assessment process that the trustees will use to quantify the injury to natural resources.

        Over time, many different activities likely contributed to contamination of the harbor. There is evidence that this contamination harmed natural resources and supporting habitats such as the subtidal, shoreline, estuary, and upland areas of the site. The parties who conducted those activities, known as potentially responsible parties, or PRPs, under CERCLA, would share in the responsibility for funding restoration activities.

        As provided in the CERCLA regulations, the trustees routinely work with the PRPs throughout this process, with the goal of reaching a legal settlement to compensate the public for any injuries.

        Compensation takes the form of projects performed by the PRPs to restore injured resources, or monetary damages to be paid by the PRPs, that the Trustees must use solely to undertake such projects.

        The NRDA process is different and separate from the process for environmental cleanup of Port Angeles Harbor.  Ecology is currently overseeing cleanup work in the harbor.  Any parties responsible for natural resource damages may also have liability for environmental cleanup.

        The Trustee Council will keep the public informed about important milestones in the ongoing NRDA, including the opportunity to comment on any draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan.


Media contacts:

  Brenda Francis, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, 360-460-2230

  Roma Call, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, 360-297-6265

  Betty Oppenheimer, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, 360-681-3410

  Linda Kent, Department of Ecology, 360-407-6239

  Ben Sherman, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 301-713-3066

  Doug Zimmer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 360-753-4370

General information about Natural Resource Damage Assessments:

Information about environmental cleanups being managed by Department of Ecology:  and

        For a copy of the Trustee Council agreement, please contact Debbie Nelson at Ecology’s Southwest Region Central Records, 360-407-6365,

UPDATE -Rayonier Mill–Documents on contaminents found

I posted this info during the last week, and received corrections from Hannah Aoyagi at ECY. Hannah had the following to say, so I’ll print both her corrections and the original for clarity:

We have a long and complicated list of documents coming up for the Rayonier Mill Study Area work, but maybe this will help to clarify.

The purpose of the Draft Supplemental Upland Data Collection Technical Memorandum is to summarize the data from recent upland sampling.  Next, these data will be combined with older data (before 2006) to paint a complete picture of contamination in the upland.

This document will be called the Upland Data Summary Report.  Although we have a great deal of data, we can’t make any interpretations until we have the full data set.

On a parallel path, Rayonier will be writing a Marine Data Summary Report.  The two data summary reports together will help Rayonier evaluate cleanup alternatives.  It’s hard to know what’s going to work on the upland without thinking about the marine cleanup, and vice versa, so we have to wait until both reports are done before we can know what cleanup might look like.

Figure 56 is probably the most informative piece for the general public.  We can do more blogs on this topic, too.

One last thing, the last line mentions the soil dioxin levels “throughout Port Angeles”—it actually just covered a four square mile area, including parts of the city and UGA.



Released last week was the 2011/Rayonier Draft Upland Data for the contaminants of concern, from Ecology.  This data is supplemental to the 2006 data.
Rayonier Draft Upland Data Memo

the Figure Section, start on Page 56 to see the test sites.

Yet to come are the Final Reports of
* contaminants throughout the Port Angeles Harbor and delineating which are Rayonier’s
and which are from other sources
* levels of dioxins found in soils throughout Port Angeles (City and UGA areas)


The correct link is below.  The large document takes awhile to load.

New State Ecology site on the Rayonier Cleanup in PA

Ecology has posted a new blog about the Rayonier Mill cleanup:

Ecology hosts Rayonier cleanup open house in Port Angeles

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) invites the public to a Rayonier cleanup open house Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, in Port Angeles. The event runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Clallam County Commissioners’ board room, 223 E. 4th Street.

“We’re looking forward to talking with citizens about the progress being made, listening to ideas and answering their questions,” said Rebecca Lawson, Ecology’s regional manager for the Toxics Cleanup Program.

Ecology and Rayonier are in the middle of a three-year process to wrap up the necessary investigations of soil and groundwater before designing a cleanup plan for the Rayonier property and parts of the marine environment.

The agreed order between Ecology and Rayonier outlines all the key work that leads to cleanup. So far, several tasks have been completed and others are under way. Those attending the open house will have the opportunity to ask Ecology staff about the work being done now and what’s yet to come.

Contractors are now working on the former Rayonier mill property, installing and sampling new monitoring wells to check for contamination in the groundwater. Sampling done in August 2010 has helped contractors prepare for this round of work. Plans also call for collecting soil samples from soil borings, and collecting groundwater grab samples near old process piping.

This round of sampling will finish mid-November, and a third round should begin by January.

State DOE committing to hold $4M for Harborworks through year’s end

The State Department of Ecology, after an August 3rd meeting attended by the Port Angeles Mayor, Dan DiGuilio, PA Harborworks Authority Chairman Orville Campbell, and Port of PA Board of Commissioner George Schoenfeldt, has agreed to ‘hold’  a requested $4M in remedial action grant funds for Harborworks until the end of December. The withholding, which has raised the ire of the anti-Harborworks coalition, doesn’t seem, on it’s surface, to be as controversial as some may say. While over 1500 signatures have been collected by PA people to ask the Governor to say no to more public funding for Harborworks, given it’s tenuous nature at present, it seems within the realm of normal that when a mayor and officials of an organization like this appeal for time to rectify the issues that have come up over the last month, that DOE and the State at least allow them some time to work through the issues. The DOE stated, “The practical of this decision is that the funds won’t be committed to other projects during that time”. I think that’s a reasonable answer, and gives a clear deadline for HW to work towards.

The Harborworks story is certainly typical of many smaller communities, when a group of local political leaders get together to try and forge a solution to a problem, and a group of local activists have their clear approach to the problem that is not in sync with the politicians, the friction we see seems to always happen. The gap between these two groups is pretty wide at present, and some controversial steps by some of the Harborworks staff to their opposition has exacerbated the problem.  However,  I can’t see fault in what the DOE is doing, as their letter to Harborworks clearly states that they are simply not acting either way for now, and letting Harborworks have some time to sort out the issues and see if they can get their program on track again. Perhaps Harborworks might take this opportunity to forge a closer alliance with their opposition, and come together to work a way forward. It would seem that continuing on as in the past might not be the smart way forward. Might be better to get all oars rowing in sync for a change. Whether any of this  can happen by end of calendar year  is very unclear as of today.

I think that both sides  need to stand back and understand that the goal is to cleanup the Rayonier site in a way that best utilizes this urban site for the community. Maybe if both sides backed off their established positions and reapproached each other to solve reach a mutually acceptable goal, this might find some traction and get moving again. That will take some giving on both sides.

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