Thursday, May 21, 2015

Whatcom Waterway Clean-Up Contract Awarded

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Bellingham has awarded Tacoma-based American Construction Co. a $30.6 million contract to clean up the Whatcom Waterway on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront.

Construction is set to begin in August and be complete by mid-2016.

The Whatcom Waterway is contaminated by heavy industrial activities at Georgia-Pacific’s former chemical plant dating back to the 1960s. Cleaning up the Whatcom Waterway is expected to assist the port and City of Bellingham’s efforts to redevelop Bellingham’s downtown waterfront.

On the south side of the Whatcom Waterway near the Granary Building, new beaches formed under redevelopment would support public access and salmon recovery, while on the north side, new bulkheads, pilings and docks would support ongoing marine trade activities, including a barge terminal and boatyard.

“Cleaning up this legacy of industrial contamination will protect the environment, restore salmon habitat, improve public access, and allow us to reestablish the economic viability of the central waterfront for the next generation of uses,” port Environmental Director Mike Stoner said.

As part of the cleanup project, American Construction Co. is expected to remove 159,000 cubic yards of contaminated marine sediment; remove 263 tons of creosote-treated timber; remove concrete and asphalt rubble and other debris from 46,950 square feet of 
shoreline and intertidal areas; and open 4,300 square feet of shoreline and intertidal area by removing unused structures.

A second phase of work, to start at a later date, is expected to address contamination in the outer waterway and Aerated Stabilization Basin.