Lagoon pump diesel pollution will be cleaned

The diesel-fueled pumps at the Deer Lagoon dike stopped pumping water long ago, but pollutants from those pumps still require the attention of Island County.

On Monday, Island County Board of Commissioners approved paying Kleinfelder Inc. of Bellevue more than $40,000 to clean up approximately 900 tons of soil contaminated with diesel fuel on the western dike of Deer Lagoon. Deer Lagoon, which sits adjacent to Double Bluff Road, is a wetland estuary that feeds into the Puget Sound.

Bill Oakes, director of the county public works department, said the diesel came from two pumps which used to control the lagoons water levels. The pumps were removed in the 1990s and replaced with special plates to control water levels.

Enough diesel sits in the soil to warrant a cleaning, Oakes said, but the contaminated soil seems to have avoided seeping into the nearby fragile habitat though not, he said, into the wetland.

“There is no evidence that contamination reached the wetland,” Oakes said.

The Department of Ecology will provide $39,748 for the clean up project; Island County will pay $4,000.

Dennis O’Neill, a senior hydrologist for Kleinfelder, Inc., said his company will begin work in mid May during low tide.

“It minimizes any potential impact to the nearby water quality,” he said.

Work begins with an assessment and work plan followed by temporary shoring of the dike to prevent contaminated soil and water from seeping into the water table, O’Neill said. He said a landhoe operator and some laborers will then remove approximately 366 tons of diesel-contaminated soil, and groundwater around the soil.

Following analysis of the contamination level of the soil, it will be disposed of at a treatment facility in Everett. Kleinfelder crews will replace the soil with imported clean backfill and restore the dike to its present condition, O’Neill said. Upon completion of the project, the Department of Ecology must approve a final report of the work before providing the grant money.

O’Neill said he anticipates the project taking four to five days to complete. Ecology set a June 30 deadline for completion of all work.

County officials discovered the contaminated soil while doing a site hazard assessment after the county bought more than 350 acres of the lagoon in January 2004 from H&H Properties.

Because approximately $800,000 of the $1.4 million the county used to buy the land came from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, the study was a requirement. Oakes said if the project cost runs more than $43,748, Ecology will continue to provide 80 percent of the total cost for cleanup unless costs exceed $60,000.

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