Aerial image of Central Waterfront Site, July 2018
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Last Updated:  November 2020

Fieldwork on Bellingham's busy working waterfront

Over the last seven years, we’ve overseen the cleanup of portions of the Central Waterfront site on Bellingham Bay. The Port of Bellingham and the City of Bellingham are getting ready to advance the site to its final cleanup step. First, we need additional information to help design the remaining cleanup work.

Contractors will test the soil, groundwater, and air on this busy working waterfront site. 

The planned fieldwork, called a pre-remedial design investigation, will provide additional information to complete engineering design of the final cleanup action

Central Waterfront
Blog Post
 For more details, visit Ecology's Blog:

"Cleaning up: Fieldwork on Bellingham's
busy working waterfront

2019 Fact Sheet 

En español

El Departamento de Ecología le invita a comentar sobre un reporte ambiental para el sitio que está contaminado Central Waterfront en Bellingham. 

Si le gustaría recibir este documento 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)
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  • 2020:  Finalized the Cleanup Action Plan. Based on Ecology's evaluation of the comments, we revised the final document.  Download Response to Comments
  • 2021-2022:  Complete design and permitting for the cleanup action.  
  • 2022: Estimated implementation of cleanup action (construction).


Current Central Waterfront cleanup site Public Participation Plan

This plan includes information for the public regarding opportunities to get involved in the Site cleanup process. The outreach activities and mechanisms presented reflect Ecology’s current plans for keeping the public informed and for receiving information and comments from the public. 

Central Waterfront Site facing east, May 2019
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Site History
The Central Waterfront cleanup site is made up of about 51 acres on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront, between I & J Waterway and Whatcom Waterway, and between Roeder Avenue and the former Georgia-Pacific industrial wastewater treatment lagoon. Property within the site is owned primarily by the Port of Bellingham or City of Bellingham. Beginning in the early 1900s, the site and surrounding tidelands were filled for various industrial uses.


Investigations to date have found contaminants in soil, groundwater, and sediment associated with historical industrial uses: 

  • Soil: metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds. Buried municipal refuse and wood waste and associated methane gas.
  • Groundwater:  metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds.
  • Sediment: metals.  This was addressed by the Whatcom Waterway, Phase 1 cleanup in 2016.

    Contaminant levels are present at potentially harmful levels and must be addressed under Washington's toxics cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA).

Previous cleanup work

2013: Early cleanup at former Chevron bulk fuel storage facility:

  • Removed 800 cubic yards of petroleum-contaminated soil and sediment. 
  • Removed timber piles, oil, and contaminated groundwater.
  • Installed a waterproof barrier.
  • Restored the beach area with clean sand, gravel, and rock.

2016:  Whatcom Waterway, Phase 1 cleanup:

  • Dredged and capped contaminated sediments.
  • Built a sheet-pile containment wall.

2016 – 2017: C Street Terminal Improvements:

  • Rehabilitated utilities and upland infrastructure.
  • Improved stormwater collection and treatment systems.
  • Removed and/or capped (paved) contaminated soil.

2017:  All American Marine building

  • Built 54,000 square-foot boat manufacturing building (with landfill gas control system) with adjacent pavement that caps and prevents exposure to contaminated soil and refuse.
  • Created a gravel boat launch route that caps contaminated soil. 
  • Properly disposed of contaminated materials encountered during construction.

Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot
The Central Waterfront 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.


The interim action reports linked below contain appendices with large volumes of laboratory data.  Please contact the site manager for file download.


Map showing site location as Whatcom County, WA SITE INFORMATION


View Electronic Documents

Cleanup Site Details Report

Facility Site ID: # 2864

Cleanup Site ID: 3418

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

Bellingham Public Library
210 Central Ave
Bellingham, 98225