I & J Waterway

I & J Waterway cleanup site map
Please click on the photo for a larger view


Last Updated: June 1, 2020

New fieldwork begins

Beginning now through early July, contractors will survey in-water and adjacent upland areas,  sample in-water sediment and upland soil, and conduct other testing in a portion of the I & J Waterway site.  

I & J Waterway
Blog Post
  For more details visit Ecology’s blog 

Cleaning up: New fieldwork begins on
Bellingham Waterfront

Información en español abajo

2019 Outreach

Response to Comments
(April 2019)


Fact Sheet
(February 2019)

Ecology conducted a public comment period (February 19 – March 20, 2019) on a cleanup action plan and associated documents for the I & J Waterway Cleanup Site on the Bellingham waterfront. The plan calls for removing and capping contaminated sediment, monitoring, and restricting uses. See our Fact Sheet for a general overview of the cleanup plan.

The plan is part of a legal agreement, called an agreed order, between Ecology, the Port of Bellingham (Port), and Bornstein Seafoods (Bornstein). The agreed order requires the Port and Bornstein to design the sediment removal work described in the plan. 

Ecology reviewed and considered all comments received on the legal agreement, Cleanup Action Plan, and State Environmental Policy Act Determination of Non-Significance (SEPA DNS). Based on Ecology’s evaluation of the comments, no changes were made to the documents, and they are being finalized.

Ecology issued a Response to Comments to address comments received.

En español

El Departamento de Ecología le invita a comentar sobre un reporte ambiental para el sitio que está contaminado I & J Waterway en Bellingham. 

Si le gustaría recibir este documento en español, por favor llame a Mark Wheeler 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. 

 Información en español abajo


The Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA; Chapter 70.105D RCW) 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.

Please click on the photo for a larger view


  • February 19 – March 20, 2019:  Ecology held a 30-day public comment period.
  • February 23, 2019:  RE Sources for Sustainable Communities hosts a walking tour of the Site.
  • April 2019: Ecology responds to comments and finalizes the cleanup action plan and legal agreement.
  • 2020/2021:  Complete design of the removal work described in the cleanup action plan.
  • 2021/2022:  Begin implementing the removal work.  Implementation will occur under a new legal agreement reviewed by the public.
  • 2023 and beyond: After the removal work is complete, design and performance of the remainder of the work described in the cleanup action plan will occur under separate legal agreements reviewed by the public.


Current I & J Waterway 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.

I & J Waterway looking southwest, May 2001
Please click on the photo for a larger view


Site History
The I & J Waterway cleanup site is about 3.1 acres in Bellingham Bay, between Hilton Avenue and Bellwether Way. Property owners within the Site boundaries are the Port of Bellingham and the state of Washington.

The Site consists of contaminated marine sediments in the waterway and nearby ship-berthing areas.

The contamination is the result of shoreline industrial activities of former owners and port tenants. Portions of the Site were used for lumber mill operations from the early 1900s through 1972. Other industrial operations within the Site boundaries included a rock-crushing plant from 1963 to 1992, frozen food processing from 1946 to 1959, and a seafood processing plant that has been in operation since 1959.

Environmental investigations indicate the presence of hazardous substances in marine sediments, including:
• polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
• phthalates
• phenols
• nickel

Other contaminants found at the Site:
• dioxins and furans
• polychlorinated biphenyls
• mercury

Dioxins/furans are present throughout Bellingham Bay from many sources including former pulp and paper mills and wood treating operations, and on-going burning activities. Mercury is related to past discharges from the Georgia-Pacific Pulp Mill.  The source of PCBs is unknown. The contamination must be addressed under the state’s toxics cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act.

Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot
The I & J Waterway 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: # 3145643

Cleanup Site ID: 2012

Bellingham, Whatcom County

Status: Cleanup Started   Get definitions of Status terminology

Lucy McInerney
Site Manager
(206) 594-0123

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

Bellingham Public Library
210 Central Ave
Bellingham, 98225