Several sites in Anacortes are targeted for cleanup and/or monitoring by the state Department of Ecology as part of the Puget Sound Initiative, authorized in 2005 by the Legislature and then-Gov. Christine Gregoire to improve the health of Washington’s inland marine waters and shoreline habitat.
• Anacortes Port Log Yard Site, 718 4th St. Site owned by the Port of Anacortes. Leased until 2004 for log rafting and the transfer of logs from water to upland sorting and handling areas on Pier 2. Soil and sediment samples collected by the Port found contamination from benzene derivatives and other chemicals. The Port is working with Ecology to develop a cleanup action plan.
• Custom Plywood Mill Site. GBH Investments LLC is the party liable for cleanup. Lumber and milling operations began here in the early 1900s; Custom Plywood operated at the site from 1984 until 1991. Wood waste and chemical contaminants were found in soil, groundwater and sediments. Completed to date: Contaminated soil and marine sediment removed. A 12,000-square-foot wetland mitigation area and vegetated buffer zone with stormwater bioswale created. Marine pilings and construction debris removed from more than 10 acres of inter-tidal water. Shoreline habitat tripled in length. Restored wetlands are now connected to Fidalgo Bay. Next: Restoration of 10.4 acres of subtidal area, 4.7 acres of which support eelgrass.
• Dakota Creek Shipyard. Site has been used for industrial and shipyard activities since approximately 1879. The Port of Anacortes acquired the site in the mid-1940s and since 1977 has leased it to Dakota Creek. Some 38,000 tons of contaminated sediment were removed by dredging over a 4.65-acre area. An additioonal groundwater monitoring well is proposed to be installed.
• Quiet Cove, on O Avenue between Second and Third streets. Owned by the Port of Anacortes. Former site of a bulk fuel terminal and storage facility. Arsenic and petroleum hydrocarbons were detected in groundwater; hydrocarbons and heavy metals were detected in soils. The Port of Anacortes removed buildings and pavement during partial cleanup in October. The port is now identifying the location of harmful chemicals and will conduct a study of cleanup options. A timeline for a Cleanup Action Plan will follow.
• Whitmarsh Landfill Site, formerly a natural lagoon on the south shore of Padilla Bay. Operated from 1950 until 1973, first as an unregulated public dump and later as a county disposal area. A sawmill operated at the site from the late 1980s to mid-2011, leaving wood waste up to 10 feet thick over large portions of the landfill. A formal agreement in 2020 named Shell Oil Co., Texaco Inc., and Skagit County as the parties responsible for the cost of the cleanup. Next: A portion of the landfill will be removed, the remainder will be capped with clay, a geotextile membrane and three feet of gravel and soils. A system will be installed to collect and vent landfill gas. Stormwater control and surface drainage systems will be installed. Shoreline habitat will be restored. Noise reduction techniques will be used to avoid disturbing the nearby heron rookery.
• Cap Sante Marine Site, between 11th and 13th streets east of Q Avenue. Acquired by the Port of Anacortes in 1956; operated as a boat yard, marina support area, and offshore fueling facility. In 2007, underground storage tanks, supply lines and 9,888 cubic yards of contaminated soil were removed. Groundwater is being monitored.
• Former Shell Oil Tank Farm Site. Acquired by the Port of Anacortes in 1929 and leased to Shell Oil Company from 1930-1987 for use as a bulk fuel storage and distribution facility. Tanks, pipes and structures were removed when the facility was decommissioned and contaminated soil was removed to a depth of 15 feet below ground surface. The site is now a vehicle and boat trailer parking lot. Groundwater is being monitored.
• Scott Paper Mill Site. A lumber mill and later a pulp mill operated at the site from 1925 to 1978. Detected in soils, groundwater and nearby marine sediments: metals; petroleum hydrocarbons; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs; polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs; and dioxins/furans. Cleanup covered approximately 25 acres and included excavation and removal of 93,000 cubic yards of contaminated upland soils; dredging and removal of 54,000 cubic yards of contaminated aquatic soils; and planting of eelgrass. The site is now macroalgae, riparian and surf smelt spawning habitat. Seafarers Memorial Park occupies the northern part of the site.
• Wyman’s Marina and Wholesale Supply Site. Site owned by the Port of Anacortes. Historically used for lumber milling and shipbuilding operations, then as an 80-berth marina with fueling, dry dock, and maintenance and storage facilities. Operations ceased in 1998 and underground storage tanks associated with marine fueling were decommissioned and removed. Petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals and pesticides were detected in soil samples. Approximately 7,600 square feet of overwater structures and more than 400 tons of contaminated soil were removed from 1998 to 2014. Approximately 17,800 square feet of intertidal habitat and 8,500 square feet of riparian/salt marsh habitat were created.