Digging project removing contaminants from Oak Harbor lot

Workers remove contaminated dirt from the site of the former Ford dealership in Oak Harbor. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Workers remove contaminated dirt from the site of the former Ford dealership in Oak Harbor.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

Neither a fast-food restaurant nor a seafood joint is being built on the site of the old Ford dealership in Oak Harbor.

At least not yet.

The sight of workers digging at the high-profile location spurred a few rumors, but city officials say it’s part of a clean-up process that began years ago.

The property is located at the intersection of State Highway 20 and Pioneer Way.

City of Oak Harbor’s Development Services Director Steve Powers said remediation overseen by the state Department of Ecology began in the 1990s on the property, which was apparently the site of a leaky fuel tank.

In the current project, the property owner hired Krieg Construction to remove about 100 cubic yards of contaminated soil, which is being taken to a facility and burned.

Powers said the people doing the removal project didn’t realize in the beginning that they needed to go through a State Environmental Policy Act process and make a permit application with the city. He said filling and grading projects involving 100 cubic feet or more of soil must go through both processes.

Powers said the necessary permits were obtained and the project went forward this week. He said the city required the company to hire an archeologist to be on site during the dig and look out for cultural artifacts.

An architect and a construction manager for McDonald’s Corp. submitted a pre-application to the city earlier this year for a 4,386-square-foot restaurant on the site, but the company didn’t go forward with the project.


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