PORT GAMBLE — Negotiations over the cleanup of Port Gamble Bay have broken down, endangering a $9 million appropriation from the Legislature for the purchase of property around the waterway, officials say.
Washington Department of Ecology had worked out extensive plans with Pope Resources to clean up polluted sediments in the bay and to purchase and restore habitat along the shore, according to Tim Nord of the agency. But Ecology could not accommodate the company’s insistence that two large docks over the cleanup area be left in place. “You have to do a complete cleanup,” Nord said, adding that the proposed dredging could not be accomplished with the docks in the way.
Company officials have said that they would prefer a single new dock outside the bay where the former sawmill once stood. That dock is integral to company plans for renovating the town of Port Gamble, with increased opportunities for tourism and new businesses, said Jon Rose of Olympic Property Group, a subsidiary of Pope Resources. “We have agreed to take those two docks out once we get approval for a replacement dock,” Rose said. “Without those docks sitting there we do not have a legal right to the water. If we give up those docks, we will never have water access.”
The cleanup plan includes removing about 1,800 creosote pilings, excavating intertidal areas and dredging up to 45,000 cubic yards of wood waste from the bottom of the harbor. Some areas would receive a 4-foot-thick cap of clean sediments to contain remaining pollution, while other areas would get a 1-foot or 6-inch cap.