Pope Resources (NASDAQ:POPE), together with the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology (Ecology), announced that the two parties have agreed on the scope for the final portion of the environmental clean-up effort in and around Port Gamble Bay, a process that began in 2002.
Pope Resources and Ecology will sign a consent decree, which is a legally binding agreement that will lay out how the remaining clean-up of contaminated in-water sediments will be designed and carried out.
The agreement, which was reached after lengthy negotiations, includes:
- Removal of about 2,000 creosote pilings;
- Excavation of intertidal areas and dredging of wood waste from the bottom of Port Gamble Bay;
- Installation of a sand-cap of up to four feet in specific locations in Port Gamble Bay;
- Removal of all existing docks and overwater structures on and around the former Pope & Talbot Port Gamble mill site by the fall of 2015.
The clean-up effort, which will likely take a few years to complete, is estimated to cost $17 million. This cost will be shared by Pope Resources and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the other Potentially Liable Party as determined by Ecology. Today’s agreement between Ecology and Pope Resources opens the way for the company and DNR to engage in discussions regarding how costs for the clean-up effort will be shared.
As part of the clean-up agreement, Ecology will allocate $2.0 million for the removal of Pope Resources’ sewer outfall that drains into Hood Canal and will also contribute about $2.0 million to assist in the acquisition of Pope Resources’ nearly 500-acre “Shoreline Block”, which contains nearly two miles of shoreline on Port Gamble Bay. The Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition has been working to obtain grants to acquire this $4.6 million property for conservation.