$1 million cleanup project gets under way at Cornet Bay marina

Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times Above: Workers prepped the site around the General Store at Deception Pass Marina last week as they got ready to move the store.   - Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times Above: Workers prepped the site around the General Store at Deception Pass Marina last week as they got ready to move the store.
— image credit: Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Alan Hall can’t complain about where he works these days.

When he steps out of his portable office, he can stare out at scenic Cornet Bay and sometimes even catch a glimpse of a hovering bald eagle.

“I did see a salmon,” Hall said. “A real nice salmon.”

Hall is project manager for Mukilteo-based Glacier Environmental Services, which is the general contractor that is handling the soil removal and groundwater cleanup project at Cornet Bay.

The project, estimated to cost most more than $1 million, got underway in the middle of December and will continue through mid April.

The plan is to remove an estimated 8,400 cubic yards of contaminated soil near the Deception Pass Marina and replace the timber bulkhead with a new sheet pile wall made of steel.

Studies by the state Department of Ecology showed that the soil and groundwater on the property was contaminated by several fuel line releases in 1989.

After years of testing and planning, state funding didn’t become available to handle the project until this year.

Crews last week were busy preparing the site for soil removal. Preparation included gutting and stabilizing the general store to prepare it to be lifted and moved to get at soil around and underneath the building.

The store was placed on wheels and moved across the property this week and will return to its original site once the cleanup is finished.

“We will cut the floor out from the bottom and lift it up,” Hall said before the move, adding that the floor was in too poor of shape to consider transporting it. “We’re basically taking the four walls and the ceiling and moving it.”

Moving the store now makes way for building to begin on a new steel bulkhead.

It will be placed in front of the existing seawall in an effort to prevent any contaminated soil from entering the bay once the timber bulkhead is removed.

A water treatment system also will be installed on site.

The plan is for soil excavation to begin by late January, said Larry Altose, spokesman for the state Department of Ecology.

Once that begins, about 10 to 15 trucks will be making about three trips a day to transport the soil to a facility in Everett for incineration, Hall said.

This will go on for about three-to-four weeks with trucks traveling over Deception Pass Bridge, he said. More time will be required to bring in clean dirt to replace the contaminated soil.

Milton Woods, owner of the marina along with son Dundee Woods, covered his end of a 1993 agreement with the state by replacing fuel lines and the underground tank years ago.


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