By Stefanie Donahue
The Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) hosted a public meeting on January 11 to discuss an effort to clean up the Blaine Marina Inc. site, located within the industrial area at the end of Marine Drive.
The DOE is currently in the midst of finalizing a cleanup plan for the site and began accepting comments from the public on December 12. The meeting was just another chance for the public to weigh in on project plans before the comment period ends on January 25.
In 2015, the DOE uncovered potentially hazardous chemicals in the groundwater and soil near the site. That same year, Blaine Marina Inc. owners Mike Dodd and his brother Steve, ended 60 years of business at the site and handed the property over to the Port of Bellingham.
Three fuel storage tanks dating back to 1955 are thought to be the source of the leak. The tanks were used to disperse fuel at an adjacent dock and for tanker trucks used to deliver home heating oil, according to the DOE.
More than 10 responses came in to host a public meeting about the project. On January 11, staff with the DOE, Port of Bellingham and other involved parties led presentations to a small audience of eager listeners at the Port of Bellingham Blaine Boating Center. Speakers hit on topics related to historical use of the site, the environmental conditions of the land and the tentative cleanup plan.
Construction is expected to begin in late 2017 or early 2018, according to project staff.
To learn more about the project, visit bit.ly/2j2m5z5. Documents are also available at the Bellingham and Bellevue DOE offices as well as the Blaine Public Library.
The public has until January 25 to weigh in on the project. Contact DOE Toxic Cleanup Program site manager Cris Matthews by phone at 360/715-5232, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by letter at 1440 10th Street, Ste. 102 Bellingham, WA 98225 with comments.