EVERETT — New state and local cleanup plans aim to prepare the empty Kimberly-Clark mill site for redevelopment.
One proposal would remove crushed materials left behind after the waterfront mill’s 2012 closure and subsequent demolition. The debris has been a point of contention for years with the city of Everett. Kimberly-Clark would coordinate that work with the Snohomish Health District.
The Department of Ecology has outlined separate steps under state environmental rules. They include removing patches of contaminated soil below the debris. The state also wants Kimberly-Clark to plug more than 20 old pipes that have been sending groundwater offshore.
“We’re hopeful that it could be completed this year,” said Andy Kallus, the site manager for the Department of Ecology.
The city and the Department of Ecology on Wednesday issued an environmental decision known as a mitigated determination of non-significance. That began a public comment period set to run through April 11, after which the cleanup proposals can be finalized.
The Port of Everett and at least one private company are interested in buying the prime-but-polluted shoreside real estate, both with promises of bringing industry and jobs back to the area.
A pulp and paper mill had been operating at the site off West Marine View Drive since 1931. When it closed for good, more than 700 workers lost jobs.
The overall property spans about 66 acres. The crushed debris is thought to cover almost half of that area. It includes concrete, brick and other kinds of demolition waste.
In 2013, the state oversaw an interim cleanup that required the removal of 39,000 tons of contaminated soil and more than 6,000 gallons of petroleum-contaminated water. After that was complete, the state identified the lingering contaminants that are supposed to be removed in the upcoming work. They include metal, petroleum products and chemical compounds known as PCBs.
Among the pipes to be plugged is one of the city’s combined sewer overflows. Meghan Pembroke, an executive director for Everett, said that city crews would temporarily relocate the pipe at an expected cost of about $50,000.
Kimberly-Clark is determined to get going soon.
The goal is to begin site work in the weeks after the public comment period closes and permits are issued, said Terry Balluck, a spokesperson for the Dallas-based corporation, in an email. “Our long-standing focus remains on helping the next generation of jobs to return to the site.”
After addressing pollution at the old mill property, another cleanup process looms in the adjacent East Waterway. Kimberly-Clark is one of several parties that will be responsible for making that happen, along with the port, the U.S. Navy and the state Department of Natural Resources. The mill cleanup is taking place first to minimize ongoing sources of pollution into the water, according to the Department of Ecology.
More information on the proposed cleanup at the former Kimberly-Clark waterfront mill is available at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=2569.
Relevant documents are available online, as well as in person at the Everett Public Library, 2702 Hoyt Ave., or by appointment at the Department of Ecology’s office in Lacey.
A hearing about the proposed cleanup is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 16 in Everett’s hearing room at 2930 Wetmore Ave., eighth floor.