Pacific Wood Treating Corp
111 W Division St, Ridgefield, WA 98642

COVID-19 AND ACCESS TO SITE DOCUMENTS

Due to COVID-19, site documents for public review will not be available at repositories or by mail.  If you are unable to view information online and have questions about the site, please feel free to contact Rebecca Lawson, Cleanup Project Manager at (360) 407-6241 or Sheila Coughlan, Public Involvement Coordinator at (360) 407-6255.


PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD JUNE 08, 2020-JULY 07, 2020

Union Pacific Railroad Company (Union Pacific) and the Department of Ecology (Ecology) are entering into a De Minimis Consent Decree. This legal agreement requires Union Pacific to pay for a portion of the cleanup cost at the Pacific Wood Treating (PWT) site.

Ecology invites you to submit comments and questions about the De Minimis Consent Decree. After the comment period ends, Ecology will respond in a responsiveness summary. 

For more information about the site history, contamination, and the settlement, feel free to review the De Minimis Consent Decree and the fact sheet.

What is a De Minimis Consent Decree?

A De Minimis Consent Decree is a legal agreement for cleanup issued to a responsible party that contributed a relatively small amount of contamination at a cleanup site. This type of
agreement is typically used at large sites where there are other responsible parties taking the lead on a cleanup. 


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SITE HISTORY

From 1964 to 1993, PWT pressure-treated lumber wood products. The plant operated in the general area of 111 West Division Street in Ridgefield, Washington.  During its operations, PWT owned over 11 acres of land and leased:

  • about 2 acres from Union Pacific
  • 24 acres from the Port of Ridgefield (port)
  • 0.5 acres from the City of Ridgefield (City)

PWT pressure treated lumber wood products and poles.  Their operations and waste disposal methods released wood treating hazardous substances that contaminated soil, groundwater, stormwater, and sediments.  PWT stopped wood treating operations in 1993 when the company declared bankruptcy. 

After PWT’s bankruptcy, the port bought the PWT property and the property owned by Union Pacific.  Since 1996, with the oversight and funding from Ecology, the port has been cleaning up the site.  While cleanup is mostly completed, there is still some ongoing work in the off-port property (OPP) residential area.


What is a site?

A site is the extent of contamination caused by a release of a hazardous substance.



CONTAMINATION

PWT pressure-treated wood products with solutions containing creosote, pentachlorophenol, chromium, copper, and arsenic. Through drips, spills, wastewater discharge, stormwater runoff and leaks, chemicals were released to the environment.

  • metals (chromium, copper, and arsenic
  • granular pentachlorophenol
  • semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds
  • diesel and gasoline
  • dioxins
  • polycyclic hydrocarbons  

The Union Pacific property was used for storing and shipping treated poles.  It included a rail spur, an office, and tram tracks used to transport poles from the active treatment area.  Chemical treatment of poles did not occur on Union Pacific property.  Most of the contamination there happened when excess wood preservative dripped from the treated poles to the ground during transfer and storage. In 1988, PWT installed a drip trough to collect excess preservative.


CLEANUP SETTLEMENT

Based on what Ecology concluded and the federal District Court decided, the amount and toxicity of hazardous substances from PWT operations on the former Union Pacific property were insignificant compared to the hazardous substances released elsewhere at the PWT site.  The draft De Minimis Consent Decree and settlement proposal of $2,264,037 will:

  • Lead to faster cleanup of hazardous substances.        
  • Meet MTCA cleanup standards and requirements issued by Ecology for the site.
  • Be practicable and in the public interest.
  • Include funds that could address unknown issues about the cost of the cleanup of Lake River sediment and dioxin contamination in the OPP residential area.
  • Settle Union Pacific’s MTCA liability with the State.



Who pays for cleanup?


In general, anyone with a past or present relationship with a contaminated site may be responsible for cleanup.


OFF PORT PROPERTY RESIDENTIAL AREA SOIL SAMPLING

Yard soil sampling to determine the extent of dioxin-contaminated soil in the residential area east of the port property is complete. The latest sampling was done in the Phase 3 area.

Property yard soil and road right-of-way sampling has been ongoing since 2015 using a phased approach of three rounds. Results of each sampling round were reported to property owners.  If results show that there are dioxins above state cleanup levels, Ecology and the port will work with the property owner to develop a cleanup plan.  Typically, this plan involves soil removal and replacement at no cost to the property owner or tenants.

Yard soil replacement was completed on 29 residential properties in the Phase 1 area.  The timing for soil replacement for 13 remaining qualifying yards in the Phase 2 and Phase 3 areas will be determined after the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study is finalized and a final Cleanup Action is selected.


NEIGHBORHOOD SOIL SAMPLING CONTINUES IN PHASE 3 AREA

The Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the Port of Ridgefield (port) want to sample additional yards in the neighborhood east of the port property to determine the extent of dioxin-contaminated soil.  This is Phase 3 of the dioxin soil sampling program (see map).

Soil sampling may take place in two rounds starting in spring 2019.  After results of the first round are reported to property owners, it will be determined if a second sampling round is needed.

To review the Fact Sheet, please view the following link:

http://ecyaptcp/gsp/DocViewer.ashx?did=85872


If yard soil samples show that there are dioxins above state cleanup levels, Ecology and the port will work with the property owner to develop a cleanup plan.  Typically, this plan involves soil removal and replacement at no cost to the property owner or tenants.

Soil sampling in yards and road rights-of-way was completed in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 areas.  Yard soil replacement was completed on 29 residential properties in the Phase 1 area.  The timing for soil replacement for 8 remaining qualifying yards in the Phase 2 area and any qualifying yards in the Phase 3 area will be determined after the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study is finalized and a final Cleanup Action is selected.



PAST CLEANUP

From June 2014 - early spring 2015, the port cleaned up:
 
  • Soil in the railroad overpass construction area
  • Sediments in Carty Lake/Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
  • Sediments in Lake River

From 1996 to 2012, the port did partial cleanups to remove contamination. The port used a steam enhanced remediation system to remove wood treating chemicals from underground. This system removed:

·         24,800 gallons of liquid contamination

·