Cleanup in Port Gamble Bay starts in July 2015. Work will take place over two construction seasons throughout much of the bay and will conclude in January 2017. Pope Resources, LP/OPG Properties, LLC will remove approximately 70,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and wood waste, as well as a derelict vessel and approximately 6,000 creosote pilings and overwater structures. Wood waste located close to shore will be dredged, and all areas contaminated by wood waste will be capped with clean material to enhance environmental recovery.
The cleanup process aims to eliminate threats to human health and the environment while minimizing impacts of cleanup. When feasible, cleanup crews will remove pilings and excavate intertidal areas when the tide is out. Crews will also restrict dredging to the cooler months, use environmental dredge buckets and turbidity curtains to reduce re-contamination of the dredging area, and monitor water quality. Shellfish will be monitored for biotoxins and chemicals.
Most dredged material and contaminated sediment and wood waste will be hauled offsite for disposal. Some contaminated sediment will be temporarily stockpiled on the mill site. Barges will be used to conduct in-water work, but will not be anchored in sensitive areas such as eelgrass beds or documented geoduck tracts. A primary navigation lane will also be used to help direct barges and material in and out of the bay.
The Port Gamble sawmill operated from 1853 to 1995. During that time, pollutants from wood waste and creosote pilings were released into the bay. These pollutants include cadmium, petroleum hydrocarbons, carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (cPAHs) and dioxins/furans. The mill closed in 1995 and has since been used for log sorting/chipping, materials handling and a marine research facility.