How long will the cleanup effort take?

  • Fri May 4th, 2012 8:49pm
  • News

By Bill Sheets Herald Writer

EVERETT — The time, money and effort required to clean up after former pulp-and-paper mills similar to Everett’s Kimberly-Clark plant can vary, depending on conditions, officials with the state Department of Ecology say.

An example of a successful cleanup can be found not far from Everett.

A lumber mill, and later a pulp mill, operated in Anacortes from the late 1800s through 1978. As with the Everett plant, the operation was owned and operated for many years by Scott Paper and later acquired by Kimberly-Clark.

After the pulp mill closed, the property was used for other industrial purposes. The plants left behind extensive contamination from dioxins, woodwaste, petroleum and industrial chemicals.

The Port of Anacortes obtained a state grant to pay for half of the $35 million cost. The port and Kimberly-Clark paid for the rest, said Seth Preston, a spokesman for the ecology department.

The waterway next to the plant was cleaned up over a five-year period ending last May.The northern part of the site is now a public park, Preston said.

By contrast, the state is still wrestling with a former Georgia Pacific plant site on Bellingham Bay. That site, more than 200 acres, is much bigger than the affected areas in Everett or Anacortes, and contains mercury and several other pollutants. Cost of the cleanup, which has yet to begin, is estimated at $90 million.