Harris Avenue Shipyard

Aerial view of Harris Avenue Shipyard cleanup site
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Last updated: February 2021

Información en español abajo

Response to Comments
(February 2021)

Final Cleanup Action Plan
(February 2021)

Fact Sheet (2020) English   Postcard (2020)  English

Work begins on engineering design for cleanup

Ecology conducted a public comment period (December 7, 2020 - January 30, 2021) on a draft Cleanup Action Plan, Agreed Order (legal agreement), and a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) determination for the Harris Avenue Shipyard site on the Bellingham waterfront in the Fairhaven neighborhood.

Ecology has reviewed and considered the public comment received on the documents. Based on Ecology’s evaluation of the comment, no changes were necessary in the documents, and they are being finalized. (Download the Response to Comments.)

Work will begin on the engineering design of the cleanup action (construction). See graphic below and visit Ecology’s cleanup process webpage to learn more about Washington’s formal cleanup process.

En español

El Departamento de Ecología le invita a revisor los documentos para el sitio que está contaminado Harris Avenue Shipyard en Bellingham.  

Si le gustaría recibir documentos en español, por favor llame al 509-329-3444 o envíe un correo electrónico a preguntas@ecy.wa.gov.  Traducciones de avisos públicos para los sitios de limpieza de la Bahía de Bellingham se preparan bajo solicitud. 


The Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) is Washington’s environmental cleanup law. It provides requirements for contaminated site cleanup and sets standards that protect human health and the environment. Ecology enacts the MTCA and oversees cleanups. The MTCA site cleanup process is completed in steps (see graphic below) over a variable timeline.

Click graphic to enlarge
Please click on the photo for a larger view


  • December 7, 2020 – January 20, 2021:  Held a 45-day public comment period. 
  • December 16, 2020: Hosted an online public meeting. (Download presentation PDF.)
  • Early 2021:  Finalize the Cleanup Action Plan and associated documents. Ecology reviewed and considered all comments received and responded accordingly. (Download Response to Comments.)
  • 2022/2023:  Estimated time to complete design of the cleanup action. 

Implementation of the cleanup action (construction) will occur under a future separate legal agreement, which will be issued for public review and comment.


Current Harris Avenue Shipyard cleanup site Public Participation Plan

This plan describes how Ecology will share information with the community and how you can share information with us. Ecology will review this plan as the cleanup progresses and amend/update it as necessary.

Harris Avenue Shipyard Site on Bellingham Waterfront in Fairhaven neighborhood, October 2019
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Site History
The Harris Avenue Shipyard cleanup site (Site) is located at 201 Harris Avenue in Bellingham’s Fairhaven Neighborhood. The Site consists of approximately 5 acres of contaminated marine sediment (in-water) and 5 acres of contaminated soil and groundwater (upland). The contamination is from historic shipbuilding and other industrial operations.

Shipbuilding activities began in the early 1900’s, and in 1966 the Port began leasing to other industrial operations.

The State of Washington and the Port own the property within the Site. The Port and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources have a management agreement for the harbor-area parcels, including the aquatic and historical infill lands.

In 1998, the Port began voluntarily investigating sediment at the Site. Based on this work, Ecology and the Port entered into a legal agreement (agreed order) in 2003 to complete a comprehensive sediment investigation. In 2010, Ecology and the Port entered into a second agreed order to investigate upland soil and groundwater. 

Early cleanup (Interim Action)
In 2018, the Port, with Ecology oversight, completed an early cleanup action for a portion of the Site. 

The early cleanup action, called an interim action:

  • Removed wooden and creosote structures.
  • Dredged and disposed of contaminated subtidal sediment.
  • Excavated and backfilled intertidal areas with clean sediment.
  • Excavated and disposed of contaminated soil, and capped with gravel.
  • Replaced creosote-treated wooden pier with concrete and steel pier.

Investigations conducted by the Port found contamination from former shipbuilding and other historical operations. Contaminants in soil and groundwater (petroleum hydrocarbon compounds and metals) and sediment (polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, semivolatile organic compounds, and metals) were found at concentrations above state standards established to protect human health and the environment. 

Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot
The Harris Avenue Shipyard site is one of 12 sites coordinated through the Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot.  The Pilot is a bay-wide multi-agency effort to clean up contaminated sediment, control sources of sediment contamination, and restore habitat, with consideration for land and water uses. In 2000, participants in this initiative developed the Bellingham Bay Comprehensive Strategy.


Map showing site location as Whatcom County, WA SITE INFORMATION


View Electronic Documents

Cleanup Site Details Report

Facility Site ID: # 2922

Cleanup Site ID: 193

Bellingham, Whatcom County

Status: Cleanup Started   Get definitions of Status terminology

John Guenther
Site Manager
(360) 255-4381

Ian Fawley
Public Involvement Coordinator
(360) 255-4382

Document Repositories:

Northwest Regional Office
15700 Dayton Ave N
Shoreline, 98133

Ecology Bellingham Field Office
913 Squalicum Way, Unit 101
Bellingham, 98225