Ecology to test soil at former mill site
EVERETT - Ecology will start testing the soil later this summer or early fall at the now-demolished former Kimberly-Clark Mill site.
The work will help determine how clean the site has to be, but the city has a firm stance of what cleanup level it desires.
The city wants Ecology to require Kimberly-Clark to clean up the site to a level that allows any type of use. Kimberly-Clark has not committed to an unrestricted cleanup level, and says it could clean it up just for industrial development to fit with the industrial suitors for the site.
The city’s stance is that the land is zoned for more than just industrial uses and the cleanup level should match the zoning.
Ecology’s investigation was prompted by Kimberly-Clark’s April findings of higher-than-expected contamination levels in the demolition debris. The debris was contaminated beyond what would be allowed for industrial development, but the company began spreading the debris across the soil to act as dirt fill.
The news stirred the community. What level the site is cleaned up to could affect the site’s long-range future. If the site is only cleaned up to industrial levels, further clean-up may be required whenever a non-industrial use, such as a business park, wants to move in.
Mayor Ray Stephanson in a letter sent in June implored Ecology to enforce a cleanup level that would allow for any type of use on the site. Ecology replied that it recommended Kimberly-Clark compare the soil samples to both unrestricted use levels and to industrial use levels.
Ecology’s soil samplings should be complete by next year, Ecology toxics cleanup manager Andy Kallus said. The agency will decide what cleanup level the site must be brought up to after the data goes through a cleanup feasibility study and after public meetings happen.
Ecology thinks the entire process could take one to two years to determine what cleanup will be required, although a city-hired attorney who used to be Ecology’s director said it could really take three to four years.
Everett is satisfied with Ecology’s response to the mayor’s letter, city spokeswoman Marla Carter said last month.
Kimberly-Clark spokesman Bob Brand said the investigation is not complete.
“We have agreed that the data we collect from our investigation of the site will be compared to both industrial and unrestricted use standards,” Brand wrote in an e-mail. “It is important to note that the final decision by Ecology regarding the remedial action standard used in the final cleanup of the site will be made at a much later date following the process that was laid out in the agreed order” with Ecology.
The company previously said it would prefer to clean up the site to industrial levels to adequately meet the needs of the site’s industrial suitors.
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