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Beginning of the end for polluted Hardel Mutal Plywood site

Clean soil is deposited Tuesday in a section at the excavation project currently underway at the former Hardel Mutual Plywood site on the shores of Budd Inlet.
Clean soil is deposited Tuesday in a section at the excavation project currently underway at the former Hardel Mutual Plywood site on the shores of Budd Inlet. The Olympian

OLYMPIA - A major cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater is in full swing at the former Hardel Mutual Plywood site on West Bay Drive, nearly 15 years after the plywood plant shut down operations because of a severe fire.

An estimated 15,000 cubic yards of soil tainted with heavy oil, diesel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) will be removed from the site and shipped to an approved Weyerhaeuser Co. landfill in Longview, said project manager Suzanne Dudziak of Greylock Consulting LLC, a Federal Way consultant hired by Hardel to oversee the cleanup.

By the time work wraps up in September or October, roughly 900,000 gallons of groundwater will be treated on site and discharged to Budd Inlet through the LOTT Clean Water Alliance treatment plant in Olympia, she said.

In addition, about 15,900 square yards of concrete slab will be broken up and mostly recycled on site.

Hardel expects to spend $1 million to $1.5 million on the cleanup – called an interim action in a work plan approved by the state Department of Ecology and Hardel this year, company official David Wild said.

The property, which includes 6.7 acres of uplands and 11.1 acres of tidelands, has been home to logging- and lumber-related businesses since 1924. Likely sources of the pollution include wood and fuel burning, oil spills and leaking fuel tanks over the years.

Past investigations of the Hardel site documented that polluted groundwater was moving toward Budd Inlet, Ecology officials say. But there’s no evidence that the industrial pollution is seeping into the inlet, Ecology hydrogeologist Guy Barrett said Tuesday.

A final cleanup plan for the site is due next year, and it could be two years or so before the property is ready for reuse, Barrett said. The site will be monitored for a year after the interim cleanup to make sure all contaminated material that exceeds state cleanup standards was removed.

“We hope we won’t have to do any more digging,” Barrett said.

Most of the pollution was concentrated in three hot spots on the property. Giant holes 7 to 15 feet deep are being excavated, then backfilled with gravel, sand and crushed concrete.

The property is zoned urban waterfront, which means it is earmarked for commercial and light industrial uses once it’s clean, Olympia city planner Todd Stamm explained.

“There’s no long-range plan yet for the property,” Wild said.

Hardel is one of seven sites on the shores of Budd Inlet in various stages of cleanup under Ecology’s supervision.

Any cleanup required in the tidelands owned by Hardel will wait until Ecology has a better handle on an overall Budd Inlet sediment-cleanup plan, Barrett said.

John Dodge: 360-754-5444 jdodge@theolympian.com

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