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.

More articles on Harbor Works and Rayonier cleanup

7/30 Peninsula Daily News
Harbor-Works to seek help from governor
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Representatives of Harbor-Works, the city of Port Angeles and Port of Port Angeles will meet with Gov. Chris Gregoire’s chief of staff next week to seek the state’s help in placing Rayonier’s former mill site under public ownership.

The meeting with Chief of Staff Jay Manning will take place Tuesday in Olympia, said Jeff Lincoln, Harbor-Works Development Authority executive director.

It will precede a Thursday meeting in Port Angeles with representatives of the state Department of Ecology.

More at

See also 8/2 Peninsula Daily News
Group wants no funds for Harbor-Works and cleanup to stay with Rayonier

See also 8/2 Peninsula Daily News
Rayonier site studies delayed; state may need more money to finish work

More on Rayonier Breaking off negotiations

A bit more background from Darlene Schanfald, who has led the opposition to the Harbor Works project. I’ve edited slightly.

“For some years, the City of Port Angeles and some of the business
community looked for ways to reduce Rayonier, Inc.’s cleanup costs
for its hazardous waste pulp mill on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
This site is on EPA’s CERCLA list, while cleanup oversight is under
the WA State Department of Ecology’s MTCA Toxics Cleanup Program.


In 2007, Ecology asked the City to partner with it in determining
site reuse once the former mill area was cleaned.  Ecology awarded
$70,000 to the City for a public visioning process.  Following, the
City and the Port secretly developed another plan.  They would create
a Public Development Authority  (PDA) which would both help decide
the mill site’s reuse, as well as purchase the property, taking on
liability for the site.  The PDA’s liability would then reduce
Rayonier’s.  The State Legislature, under HB 1761, allows government
entities like PDAs, ports and cities to get public funds for
hazardous waste cleanups, while corporations are ineligible for these
funds. Rayonier approved the PDA plan.

On May 20, 2008 he PDA scheme for the public to assume site cleanup
liability came before the City Council with one day’s public notice
and with no public input allowed.  The Council, many admitting they
had not thoroughly read the agreement, the PDA recommended bylaws,
unanimously approved the PDA.  Since, the Port, the City and Ecology
have given the PDA $1.5 million to operate and do "due diligence."
All public funds.

The PDA, called HarborWorks, has been negotiating with Rayonier for
many months for the site.  Roughly, this was HarborWorks’ offer to
Rayonier.  HarborWorks would purchase parts of the site — the area’s
the City and the Port wanted. Rayonier would determine probable
cleanup costs of those acres, subtract from that the value of the
land in its polluted state, and give HarborWorks the remaining sum
towards the cleanup.  HarborWorks would use this money as matching
dollars needed to get state funding and relieve Rayonier of liability
for those areas.  Rayonier did not like that deal and cut off
negotiations with HarborWorks.

Without knowing about the failed negotiations, citizens were on the
street gathering petition signatures to stop any more public funds
for HarborWorks.  Within days, they collected 450 signatures and now
are well beyond that as they continue collecting signatures.  (See
Petition). On July 26, the Peninsula Daily News ran an online poll
asking if people supported or opposed HarborWorks existence.   Almost
700 people responded, nearly 77% opposed.  Yet, on August 5, in an
attempted closed door meeting with Ecology, Harborworks, the City and
the Port will try to convince Ecology to give the PDA promise of
funding that would pay for 75-91% of the cleanup, all the time
telling the public, no public funds would be used for cleanup.

ARTICLE:  Supporters, opponents respond to Rayonier letter nixing
mill site sale

Things you can do, if you are opposed to this.

Darlene suggests to write Director of Ecology, Ted Sturdevant:
”I oppose public funding for HarborWorks to buy or clean up the Port
Angeles Rayonier property.
Hold Rayonier accountable to pay for the full cleanup costs of its pollution.
The HarborWorks Public Development Authority was created without
public input, yet publicly funded with $1.5 Million.   It was created
in secret between Port Angeles City and Port and Rayonier.
RAYONIER INC. has a cleanup agreement in place with the State holding
Rayonier FULLY responsible for paying to clean up the pollution its
mill left behind.  This agreement should not be interfered with.”

Rayonier withdraws from negotiations for Harbor Works…

In reading the letter from Rayonier, it’s pretty clear that it seems that the deal just didn’t offer sufficient financial or legal support for them. Reading it, even between the lines, seems to validate their case. However, like all political issues, there must be more to this than meets the eye.  Guess the Harbor Works Development Authority will now dissolve? Or maybe come back to the table with a better offer… More to follow…be sure to read the letter.


7/25 Peninsula Daily News
Rayonier won’t sell to Harbor-Works; company announces end to negotiations on Port Angeles property
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — Rayonier has told Harbor-Works that it will not sell the site of its former pulp mill to the public development authority.
In a surprise letter sent last week to the Harbor-Works Development Authority, Rayonier Vice President Michael Herman wrote that the company has "no further interest in pursuing a transaction with HW [Harbor-Works] at this time."
The move comes about two weeks before the Harbor-Works board was to decide whether to acquire the former mill site and puts nearly two years of effort to place the largest undeveloped property on the North Olympic Peninsula under public ownership in serious jeopardy.
More at
Rayonier letter:
7/26 Peninsula Daily News
Supporters, opponents respond to Rayonier letter nixing mill site sale

Harbor-Works “will dissolve if it doesn’t get the Rayonier site” chamber told

The battle for hearts and minds continues in Port Angeles, as a member of the board of the entity setup to create a public commercial restoration of the site predicts dire outcomes if their plans are not accepted by the population. On the other side of this debate, and not interviewed in this for a counter balance, are those seeking to turn Ennis Creek back into a viable salmon spawning creek by creating a shoreline park on the site. Looks like something has to happen this summer, which seems unlikely. No mention whether any other person with a counter opinion to Mr. Alhburg was invited to speak to the Chamber or not.

6/22 Peninsula Daily News
Harbor-Works will dissolve if it doesn’t get Rayonier site, chamber told
By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Harbor-Works Development Authority faces a fork in the road this summer, with one route leading to dissolution of the authority if it doesn’t acquire the site of a former Rayonier pulp mill, a board member told a Chamber of Commerce audience Monday.

The other route — the one intended when Port Angeles city and port officials created the public development authority in 2008 — would be acquisition of the waterfront acreage in northeast Port Angeles to speed the site’s cleanup and redevelopment, said board member Kaj Ahlburg.

Ahlburg, speaking to about 75 people at a luncheon meeting of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, called the decision one of the most important for Port Angeles.

More at

Port Angeles – Rayonier cleanup choices discussed

6/13 Peninsula Daily News
Group makes its case for clean Rayonier mill site
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — The theme of the meeting was how the remaining structures on the Rayonier’s former mill site can influence the cleanup of Puget Sound.
But the Thursday meeting was not another information session held by Port Angeles city staff to explain how they want to use a large tank on the 75-acre waterfront property to prevent sewage overflows into Port Angeles Harbor and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Instead, the gathering hosted by the Olympic Environmental Council attempted to make the case for removing any and all remnants of the mill — including the 5-million-gallon tank.
More at

Ecology responds to comments, signs new agreed order for Rayonier cleanup

OLYMPIA – After reviewing and considering the public’s input from a recent comment period, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has signed an agreed order that will lead to cleanup at the former Rayonier mill property in Port Angeles.

Ecology also released a document that responds to the more than 200 comments submitted by 34 citizens, businesses or government representatives during the comment period. The responsiveness summary can be found on Ecology’s Web site for the Rayonier cleanup:

“The work over the next three years will answer critical questions that allow cleanup and reuse of the Rayonier mill property,” explained Rebecca Lawson, Ecology’s regional toxics cleanup manager and lead for the Rayonier project. “This agreement has concrete tasks and timelines that lead us to a cleanup plan.”

The agreement calls on Rayonier to complete the investigation in the study area, which includes the mill property and 1,400 acres of sediments in Port Angeles harbor. Rayonier has a clear set of tasks to complete in the three-year schedule. The study area cleanup plan can’t be developed until the investigatory and feasibility work is done.

In late January 2010, Ecology and Rayonier announced agreement on the terms of the new legal order and Ecology held a public comment period from Feb. 1 to March 5, 2010.

Ecology was able to address the public’s feedback without changing the agreed order language and provides that information in the responsiveness summary. Print copies are available at the Port Angeles Library and Peninsula College Library as well as Ecology’s main office in Lacey.

Keep tabs on the Rayonier cleanup by following Ecology on Twitter ( and the ECOconnect blog (


Media Contact: Kim Schmanke, 360-407-6239 (desk)

-We’re still a long way from seeing cleanup really begin. – Editor…

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