Holly Street Landfill

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Cleanup actions for this site were completed in 2005, followed by the completion of post-construction monitoring in 2014.

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The Holly Street Landfill site is a 13-acre historic solid waste landfill located in the Old Town district of Bellingham.  In the late 1800s, the site was part of the original Whatcom Creek estuary and mudflat.  Around 1905, private property owners began filling portions of the site with dredge spoils and other materials to increase useable upland areas.  From 1937 to 1953, municipal waste was used by owners to fill private tidelands within the former Whatcom Creek estuary.  Wastes disposed at the site included debris and scrap materials, consistent with landfill disposal practices of the time. Solid waste covers approximately 9.1 acres on the northwest side of Whatcom Creek and 3.8 acres on the southeast side (Maritime Heritage Park).  The City of Bellingham (City) currently owns 8.3 acres of the 13-acre landfill site, including all landfill properties located along the Whatcom Creek shoreline.  Various private property owners own the remainder of the land fill site.

In 2005, the City, with Ecology oversight, implemented a cleanup action plan for the site which addressed the physical presence of solid waste, methane production, and contaminant impacts to Whatcom Creek. Refuse along the northern shoreline of Whatcom Creek was excavated along with construction of an engineered cap, and material was placed along the southern shoreline to stabilize the bank.  The northern shoreline excavation and cap system was designed to control releases of copper and zinc to Whatcom Creek that occur when estuary water mixes with the solid waste in the bank. The cleanup also included long term protection through legal restrictions on property use and monitoring of the cleanup action.

The cleanup removed about 12,400 tons of solid waste, primarily from the northern bank prior to cap construction. The excavated materials were transported and disposed of at a permitted, off-site landfill. The cleanup also restored historically lost habitat at the mouth of Whatcom Creek.  The project converted about 0.3 acres from upland to intertidal elevations, created side channel habitat, placed large woody debris, removed invasive vegetation, and re-introduced native plants. Along with these activities, the City constructed a boardwalk and viewpoints/overlooks along the estuary to improve public access to the shoreline.

The Holly Street Landfill is one of 12 cleanup sites in the Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot project, 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 informed by the Bellingham Bay Comprehensive Strategy, completed by the pilot work group in 2000.



Map showing site location as Whatcom County, WA SITE INFORMATION


View Electronic Documents

Cleanup Site Details Report

Facility Site ID: # 2925

Cleanup Site ID: 253

Bellingham, Whatcom County

Status: Construction Complete-Performance Monitoring   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