Little Squalicum Park

Facility Site ID: 7551533 Cleanup Site ID: 1046

Site Description

Little Squalicum Creek, within the park
Little Squalicum Creek, within the park
Little Squalicum Park is an undeveloped 21-acre area on the northeast end of Bellingham’s waterfront. Little Squalicum Creek runs through the site, fed by springs and stormwater runoff from adjacent properties. The site has multiple owners, including the city of Bellingham and Whatcom County. The city leases the county’s portion of the site for improvement, management and operation as a park. Bordering the site are residential neighborhoods and industrial facilities, including the Oeser Company. The Oeser property is part of a designated federal Superfund site. Superfund is the federal counterpart to the state’s toxic cleanup law and is carried out by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Environmental investigations of the surface water, ground water, soil and sediments at the Little Squalicum Park site have confirmed the presence of hazardous substances including pentachlorophenol, dioxin, copper, zinc and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds.

Site Status

On Oct. 30, 2009, Ecology officially transferred oversight responsibility for cleanup to the EPA for portions of the park shown to be contaminated by past operations at the Oeser Co., an active wood treating business adjacent to the park. Ecology maintains oversight responsibility for an old municipal landfill cleanup within the park.

The city of Bellingham's legal obligation to complete cleanup activities with Ecology oversight ended Oct. 30, 2009, with the signing of a termination agreement (PDF 98 KB). Areas of the park contaminated by historical wood treating processes are now being included as part of EPA's cleanup efforts at the Oeser Superfund site. Ecology, the city of Bellingham and Whatcom County negotiated a seperate agreed order for the old municipal landfill within the park, now known as the Eldridge Municipal Landfill Site.

For more information about the status of EPA’s cleanup activities, you can contact their project manager Joe Wallace at wallace.joe@epa.gov, or visit the EPA Oeser web page at:

EPA Oeser Co. webpage  (Little Squalicum information is listed mid-page).

Background

Environmental Investigation

A comprehesive study of the site began in November 2005. It was conducted by the City of Bellingham with Ecology oversight, and looked at surface water, groundwater, soil and sediments. It found hazardous substances, including pentachlorophenol, dioxin, copper, zinc, petroleum hydrocarbons, PAH compounds, and municipal waste within the site.

As part of the investigation, petroleum hydrocarbons were found in an exposed section of the creek bank. During high creek flows these substances float downstream in an oily film on the water surface. To limit exposure to this material, the city placed signs at park entrances and along the creek, warning people to stay out of the creek and off its banks, and to keep dogs and other pets from drinking or entering creek waters.

The findings of the study were compiled into a draft remedial investigation report. The findings were presented during a public meeting June 10, 2009. Ecology accepted public input through July 6, 2009, and responded to questions about the investigation.

EPA Involvement

Results of the Ecology study and other studies showed some types of contamination along the creek at levels that triggered involvement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA has taken the regulatory lead for cleanup of most of the park site as part of the Oeser Superfund cleanup, except for an area used as a municipal landfill in the 1930s.
 
Because EPA took on regulatory responsibility, Ecology ended the assessment and evaluation of most of the park site cleanup activities at the site and did not require the city to finalize the remedial investigation report or complete a feasibility study. The municipal waste landfill is being addressed by Ecology as a separate cleanup site.

The draft remedial investigation report and comments will remain part of Ecology’s site file, and they have been forwarded to EPA to inform the federal cleanup process. EPA will incorporate results of this investigation into its continued work with Oeser, the city, Ecology and Whatcom County to examine cleanup options under federal cleanup authority.
Legal 5
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Little Squalicum Park Termination Agreement 10/30/2009 Interlocal/Interagency Agreement; Memorandum of Agreement or Understanding
Little Squalicum Park Agreed Order March 2005 3/22/2005 Agreed Order
Little Squalicum Park Agreed Order 3/1/2005 Agreed Order
Little Squalicum Park AO In the Matter of Remedial Action by: City of Bellingham 3/1/2005 Agreed Order
Little Squalicum Park AO In the Matter of Remedial Action by: City of Bellingham 3/18/2004 Agreed Order
Public Information 3
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Little Squalicum Park Fact Sheet Site Investigation Completed, Draft Report Available 05-09 5/31/2009 Fact Sheet\Public Notices
Little Squalicum Park Responsiveness Summary 4/1/2005 Responsiveness Summary
Little Squalicum Park Fact Sheet Cleanup Documents Available 1/1/2005 Fact Sheet\Public Notices
State Environmental Policy Act 1
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Bellingham Bay Comprehensive Strategy - SEPA - Environmental Impact Statement 10/1/2000 SEPA Documents
Technical Reports 9
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Little Squalicum Park Remedial Investigation Optimized 12/1/2008 Remedial Investigation Report
Little Squalicum Park ADDENDUM NO. 3 10/2/2006 Sampling and Analysis Plan
Little Squalicum Park Addendum No. 2 1/24/2006 Sampling and Analysis Plan
Little Squalicum Park Standard Operation Procedure 12 12/1/2005 Site Specific Technical Document - other
Little Squalicum Park Addendum No. 1 11/14/2005 Sampling and Analysis Plan
Little Squalicum Park Health And Safety Plan 7/29/2005 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
Little Squalicum Park Sampling and Analysis Plans 7/29/2005 Sampling and Analysis Plan
Little Squalicum Park Ecology Toxics Cleanup Program 7/29/2005 Remedial Investigation Report
Little Squalicum Park Site Hazard Assessment 2/1/2004 Site Hazard Assessment Report
There may be more documents related to this site. To obtain documents not available electronically, you will need to make a public records request.

Places to see print documents

  • EPA Records Center
    1200 Sixth Ave, Ste 900
    Seattle, 98101
    Please schedule an appointment to view print documents at this location.

Contaminants 7

Contaminant Type
Soil
Groundwater
Surface Water
Air
Sediment
Bedrock
Other Contaminant - Base/Neutral/Acid Organics C C
Halogenated Organics - Halogenated Organics C
Non-Halogenated Organics - Petroleum Products-Unspecified C C C
Non-Halogenated Organics - Phenolic Compounds C C C C
Halogenated Organics - Dioxins/Furans C C C
Non-Halogenated Organics - Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons C C C C
Pesticides - Pesticides-Unspecified C
S
Suspected
C
Confirmed Above Cleanup Levels
B
Below Cleanup Levels
RA
Remediated-Above
RB
Remediated-Below
R
Remediated
This contaminant list was based on our best information at the time it was entered. It may not reflect current conditions at the site.