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Originally published July 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 11, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Edmonds

Final phase of cleanup set at fuel terminal

The state Department of Ecology will move forward this summer with what it hopes will be the final phase of cleanup at the former Unocal...

Times Snohomish County Bureau

Meeting tonight

The state Department of Ecology is hosting a public meeting beginning at 7 p.m. to discuss the next phase of cleanup at the Unocal site. The meeting will be held at Edmonds City Hall, 121 Fifth Avenue North.

The state Department of Ecology will move forward this summer with what it hopes will be the final phase of cleanup at the former Unocal fuel terminal in Edmonds.

Since 2001, Ecology has removed soil and sediment laden with heavy metals and petroleum from the site. For nearly 70 years since 1923, the location received and blended various petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel and bunker fuel. An asphalt plant also operated at the 47-acre site between 1953 and the late 1970s.

Both projects left years of contaminated soil and groundwater, forcing Ecology to add the location to its hazardous-site index and require that it be cleaned up before the property could be used for other purposes.

The state Department of Transportation and the city of Edmonds plan to use the lower site of about 22 acres, which is what will be cleaned up this summer and next year, for a multimodal-transportation facility. The two are planning to relocate the ferry terminal from the existing Main Street Terminal to the old tank farm at Point Edwards beginning in 2012.

For that piece of the property, the state paid a little more than $8 million to Chevron, which acquired Unocal in 2005, and Chevron is using about $7 million of that for the remaining cleanup, company officials said.

Ecology plans to remove about 27,000 cubic yards of soil from the site this summer and fall, and in 2008 it will remove about 375 cubic yards of sediment from nearby Willow Creek.

Ecology hopes the work will complete the project. The state plans to monitor groundwater during a two-year period, state officials have said.

"We're calling this phase an interim cleanup, although it potentially could be the final phase for the site," said Ecology spokesman Larry Altose. "There are some unknowns, so if groundwater monitoring shows the need for additional cleanup, then there could be more done here."

Cleanup of the upper yard was completed in 2003 with the removal of more than 34,000 cubic yards of soil and more than 1.9 million gallons of dirty groundwater.

Point Edwards opened in 2005 on the upper yard with 55 condominiums on site. Plans are for the area to eventually include about 300 homes, say Edmonds city officials.

"While cleanup has progressed slower than most people would like, it's been done in a consistent manner," said Stephen Clifton, Edmonds' community-service director. "We're pleased that Ecology and Chevron have been able to work out these issues for it to be cleaned up."

Once, part of the Unocal site was considered as a possible location for the Brightwater sewage-treatment plant. But King County officials selected a site at the crux of Highways 9 and 522, and have since begun construction of the controversial plant there.

Christopher Schwarzen: 425-783-0577 or cschwarzen@seattletimes.com

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