Eldridge Municipal Landfill

Facility Site ID: 16195 Cleanup Site ID: 1897

Site Status - March 2016

The Department of Ecology has finalized environmental documents for the Eldridge Municipal Landfill site in Bellingham. The documents include a report (remedial investigation/feasibility study, or RI/FS) that presents the results of an investigation at the site and selection of a preferred cleanup option, a legal agreement (consent decree) between Ecology and the City of Bellingham that includes a cleanup action plan for the site, and a public participation plan.
A public comment period was held to get input on these documents from September 21 – October 20, 2015.  Five comments were received, which did not result in any changes to the documents. Once the RI/FS was finalized, a letter of satisfaction was issued for the agreed order. The Consent Decree was signed by the City and Ecology.  It was filed with Whatcom County Superior Court and became effective on December 30, 2015.

In addition, planned groundwater sampling occurred at the site on March 7, 2016.  This work was conducted under a Sampling and Analysis Plan - Addendum #1, approved by Ecology.
For more information, view these documents by following the links below.

Site Description

The Eldridge Municipal Landfill site (PDF 553 KB) is about 32,000 square feet in Little Squalicum Park in Bellingham, west of the Bellingham Technical College campus parking lot. The site is on property owned by Whatcom County and managed by the city as a park. In the mid- to late-1930s, the City of Bellingham used the area, now part of the park, as a landfill for burning and burying local municipal garbage. The landfill operated for only a few years.

The Eldridge Municipal Landfill site was discovered in 2006 as part of an investigation of the Little Squalicum Park cleanup site. When the investigation showed that contamination along Little Squalicum Creek was associated with the adjacent Oeser Federal Superfund site, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took over the regulatory lead for cleanup of the creek area. Ecology maintained oversight authority for the landfill site.

In 2010, a remedial investigation of the site found landfill debris and contamination across a 32,000 square foot area.  This included:

  • Landfill debris: glass bottles, metal scraps, ash, ceramics, construction debris and various rusted materials.
  • Soil contamination: arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, zinc and pentachlorophenol.
  • Groundwater contamination: metals including arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc as well as, iron, manganese, nitrate, and ammonia.
The Eldridge Municipal Landfill site is one of 12 cleanup sites in the Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot Project. The pilot is a coordinated bay-wide effort by federal, tribal, state and local governments to clean up contamination, control pollution sources and restore habitat, with consideration for land and water uses.  The work is guided by the Bellingham Bay Comprehensive Strategy, which was developed by the the pilot work group in 2000.

Next Steps

These activities will occur in 2016:

  • begin groundwater monitoring
  • place legal use restrictions on the property
  • prepare an operations & maintenance plan
  • wetland planting, fencing, and signage
  • designate especially valuable habitat area

Site use restrictions called institutional controls are in effect

Institutional controls can be fences, signs, or restrictions on how the property is used. For instance, an institutional control may prohibit installing drinking water wells or disturbing a protective cap that isolates contamination. These restrictions keep the contamination contained and keep people from being exposed to the contamination. The controls are usually listed in environmental covenants recorded with the county.

Periodic reviews are required when institutional controls are required at a site. Ecology conducts reviews to make sure the controls remain effective and the cleanup still protects human health and the environment. We conduct periodic reviews about every five years.

Environmental Covenant

County Recording #: 20210600587
County Recording Date: 6/3/2021


  • Control Stormwater
  • Ongoing Maintenance of Remedy
  • Prohibit Soil Disturbance
  • Restrict All Ground Water Extraction/Well Installation
  • Restrict Land Use

Restricted Media

  • Groundwater
  • Soil
Legal 16
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Eldridge Landfill Environmental Covenant Areas 1, 2B, 3, and 4A 2/22/2022 Environmental Covenant; Alternative Mechanism
Eldridge Municipal Landfill Env Cov_ Whatcom County 6/8/2021 Environmental Covenant; Alternative Mechanism
Eldridge Municipal Landfill - Consent Decree Schedule Modification and Cover Letter - February 2016 3/18/2016 Consent Decree
Eldridge Municipal Landfill - Signed Consent Decree w CAP and Exhibits (includes filing documents) - December 2015 3/4/2016 Consent Decree
Letter of Satisfaction for Agreed Order-December 2016 3/4/2016 Agreed Order
Eldridge - Draft Consent Decree with Cleanup Action Plan and Exhibits - September 2015 9/21/2015 Consent Decree
Eldridge Landfill - Sampling Analysis Plan - May 2012 5/17/2012 Agreed Order
Eldridge Landfill Cleanup News Release 8/22/2011 Agreed Order Amendment
Agreed Order Amendment-August 2011 8/10/2011 Agreed Order Amendment
Responsiveness Summary - August 2011 8/10/2011 Agreed Order Amendment
Eldridge Municipal Landfill First Amendment to Agreed Order 5-31-2011 5/31/2011 Agreed Order Amendment
Eldridge Municipal Landfill agreed order Exhibit A - site diagram 11/19/2010 Agreed Order
Eldridge Municipal Landfill Agreed Order - November 2010 (Exhibit A not attached) 11/19/2010 Agreed Order
Edlridge Municipal Landfill agreed order - November 2010 11/19/2010 Agreed Order
Eldridge Municipal Landfill draft agreed order Exhibit A - site diagram 8/19/2010 Agreed Order
Eldridge Municipal Landfill draft agreed order 8/19/2010 Agreed Order
Public Information 7
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Eldridge Municipal Landfill - Responsiveness Summary - December 2015 3/4/2016 Responsiveness Summary
Eldridge - Fact Sheet - September 2015 9/21/2015 Fact Sheet\Public Notices
Eldridge - Public Participation Plan - September 2015 9/21/2015 Public Participation Plan
Eldrige Municipal Landfill - Proposed Interim Cleanup June 2011 6/6/2011 Fact Sheet\Public Notices
Eldridge Municipal Landfill Department of Ecology News Release 9/17/2010 Fact Sheet\Public Notices
Eldridge Municipal Landfill Fact Sheet Draft Legal Agreement Available 9/1/2010 Fact Sheet\Public Notices
Eldridge Municipal Landfill Public Participation Plan 9/1/2010 Public Participation Plan
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 8
Document Title Document Date Document Type
2017 Groundwater Characterization Report 5/12/2017 Groundwater Monitoring Report
Eldridge Municipal Landfill - Groundwater Sampling & Analysis Plan - Addendum #1 - February 2016 3/18/2016 Sampling and Analysis Plan
Eldridge Municipal Landfill - Final RI/FS Report - December 2015 3/7/2016 Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study
Eldridge - Remedial Action-Feasibility Study Addendum - Basis for Selection of Preferred Alternative - September 2015 9/21/2015 Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study
Eldridge Municipal Landfill interim action completion report - Dec. 15, 2011 12/15/2011 Interim Action Documents
Eldridge Landfill Performance Monitoring Plan 9/19/2011 Engineering Design Report
Sampling Plan Map 9/19/2011 Engineering Design Report
2011 Eldridge Landfill Engineering Design Report 9/19/2011 Engineering Design 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

  • Northwest Regional Office
    15700 Dayton Ave N
    Shoreline, 98133
    Please schedule an appointment to view print documents at this location.
  • Ecology Bellingham Field Office
    913 Squalicum Way, Unit 101
    Bellingham, 98225
    This location may only have print documents available during open comment periods.

Contaminants 6

Contaminant Type
Surface Water
Metals - Metals - Other C C
Metals - Arsenic C C
Other Contaminant - Other Deleterious Substances C
Metals - Lead C C
Metals - Mercury C
Halogenated Organics - Other Halogenated Organics C
Confirmed Above Cleanup Levels
Below Cleanup Levels
This contaminant list was based on our best information at the time it was entered. It may not reflect current conditions at the site.