On Tuesday, October 30, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities will lead a public tour of a cleanup site on the north end of Boulevard Park, where contaminants remain in the soil from a coal-burning gas plant operated until the 1950s. The tour will begin at 1:00 PM from the South Bay Trail on State Street above Boulevard Park in Bellingham, and conclude at 2:30 PM. Staff from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Ecology, and the City of Bellingham will be present to answer questions and encourage public comments on the cleanup plan released by Ecology.
“We want to connect people with the process of cleaning up and reclaiming Bellingham’s waterfront,” said Eleanor Hines, North Sound Baykeeper and Lead Scientist for RE Sources. “Many people who walk their dog, launch kayaks, or play frisbee at Boulevard Park don’t know they can have a voice in the futures of the very places they’re enjoying.”
Ecology is accepting comments on its cleanup plan for the site, called the South State Street Manufactured Gas Plant, until November 6. Ecology will also hold a public meeting at Bellingham City Hall after the tour on October 30, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, to hear the community’s input on possible paths forward, such as protecting the shoreline with rocks to prevent contaminated soil from eroding into Bellingham Bay.
This is part of an ongoing tour series of the 12 Bellingham waterfront cleanup sites listed under the Model Toxics Control Act, which contain contaminants like heavy metals and petroleum byproducts left from over 100 years of heavy industry, an era which ended with the closure of the Georgia-Pacific pulp mill in 2007.
The most recent waterfront cleanup site to become fully accessible to the public, Waypoint Park, opened in June 2018. Read more here about Eleanor Hines’s experience leading a tour by kayak to Waypoint Park.
For more information or to RSVP (encouraged but not required), contact Eleanor Hines at EleanorH@re-sources.org or 360-733-8307 x213.
To send Ecology a comment and see details on the cleanup site, visit their webpage: fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=4606
To RSVP on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/events/257683268282331
Media contact: Eleanor Hines, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, EleanorH@re-sources.org, 360-733-8307 x213