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Cornet Bay fuel cleanup underway

A Mukilteo general contractor has started prep work for a soil and groundwater cleanup project at the Deception Pass Marina at Cornet Bay. The general store will be moved for cleanup on the property on Jan. 2 or 3. - Ron Newberry/The Record
A Mukilteo general contractor has started prep work for a soil and groundwater cleanup project at the Deception Pass Marina at Cornet Bay. The general store will be moved for cleanup on the property on Jan. 2 or 3.
— image credit: Ron Newberry/The Record

Alan Hall can’t complain about where he works these days.

When he steps out of his portable office, he can stare out at scenic Cornet Bay and sometimes even catch a glimpse of a hovering bald eagle.

“I did see a salmon,” Hall said. “A real nice salmon.”

Hall is project manager for Mukilteo-based Glacier Environmental Services, which is the general contractor handling the soil removal and groundwater cleanup project at Cornet Bay.

The project, estimated to cost most more than $1 million, got underway in the middle of December and will continue through mid-April.

The plan is to remove an estimated 8,400 cubic yards of contaminated soil near the Deception Pass Marina and to replace the timber bulkhead with a new sheet pile wall made of steel.

Studies by the state Department of Ecology showed that the soil and groundwater on the property was contaminated by several fuel line releases in 1989.

After years of testing and planning, state funding didn’t become available to handle the project until this year.

Crews have been busy preparing the site for soil removal. Part of that has been to gut and stabilize the general store and prepare it to be lifted and moved to get at soil around and underneath the building.

The store will be placed on wheels and moved across the property before being returned to its original site once the cleanup is finished.

The store is expected to be moved on Jan. 2 or 3, Hall said.

“We will cut the floor out from the bottom and lift it up,” said Hall, adding that the floor was in too bad  shape to consider moving it. “We’re basically taking the four walls and the ceiling and moving it.”

After the store is moved, work will soon begin on building the new steel bulkhead.

It will be placed in front of the existing seawall in an effort to prevent any contaminated soil from entering the bay once the timber bulkhead is removed.

A water treatment system also will be installed on site.

The plan is for soil excavation to begin by late January, said Larry Altose, spokesman for the state Department of Ecology.

Once that begins, about 10 to 15 trucks will be making about three trips a day to transport the soil to a facility in Everett for incineration, Hall said.

This will go on for about three or four weeks with trucks traveling over Deception Pass Bridge, he said. More time will be required to bring in clean dirt to replace the contaminated soil.

Milton Woods, owner of the marina along with son Dundee Woods, covered his end of a 1993 agreement with the state by replacing fuel lines and the underground tank years ago.

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