"Cost, difficulty slow Lake Hancock clean-up"

"The Department of Ecology won't try to order the Navy to remove creosote-laced logs from its Lake Hancock property, but suggests the removal of any such logs is a good idea.Central Whidbey's Lake Hancock, a former Navy practice bombing site, is the focal point of an effort by several Whidbey Island residents to start a creosote-log removal program throughout Puget Sound.Leaders include Tony Frantz, whose construction company builds bulkheads and staircases to the beach, and Coupeville attorney Ken Picard.Frantz and several others knowingly trespassed on the Navy property in early July to mark some 350 creosote logs with red balloons. The aim was to show the extent of the problem. Frantz claims that over the last 40 years some 2,400 pieces of treated wood have accumulated in the lake. The balloons were later removed.Creosote has been used for decades to protect pilings from sea worms and is known as a toxic substance. Without the treated wood, Franz said, Lake Hancock would be teeming with healthy life. He claims fish and crab found there are diseased. No one blames the Navy that so many creosote logs have piled up at Lake Hancock, a sensitive saltwater marsh area. All parties agree that it just floats in and stays. It's a natural trap of nature, Frantz said Monday.The balloon episode garnered Frantz a letter of chastisement from NAS Whidbey Captain L.G. Salter, but also prompted a visit to the site by Navy ecologist John Phillips and Alice Schisel, the DOE's regional compliance officer. Kimberly Martin, Navy public affairs officer in Oak Harbor, said this week that the Navy was awaiting comment from the DOE before deciding what, if anything, to do at Lake Hancock. At this point we're waiting for advice from the DOE, she said. They're the people who tell us what to do.Schisel visited Lake Hancock on July 16. As of Wednesday she had not submitted a report to the Navy, but she said the DOE won't be demanding any action.Schisel said it is very clear the Navy has violated no environmental laws at Lake Hancock. It's not an uncommon accumulation of treated wood, she said. Schisel said many areas of Puget Sound have become home to unwanted creosote logs that float around as debris. There's nothing good about treated logs drifting around Puget Sound, she said. But once they're in the water they're no one's responsibility. But we'd love to find a way to get this material out of the water.Schisel said removing the wood from Lake Hancock would be very difficult, and disposing of it afterwards would be very expensive. Island County would accept the wood at its transfer site, she said, but the cost per pound would be the same as other debris and it would have to be shipped off the island for disposal.Schisel said, I just don't have an idea on how to remove the wood at an affordable price.Captain Salter, in his letter to Frantz dated July 30, stated the Navy will not hesitate to take whatever action becomes necessary to rectify any problems that may arise at this property.Frantz has plenty of ideas for fixing the problem at Lake Hancock, all revolving around a public effort to enlist the help of politicians, businesses and citizen volunteers. Anyone wanting to help can contact Tony Frantz, Ken Picard , or Rupert Schmitt. "

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