A toxic site in the vicinity of Cherry Point / Facebook post, Whatcom Hawk, Wendy Harris

treoil herald

2 hrs  April 4, 2017  Wendy Harris

I am surprised this story has not generated much interest. Wake up, everyone. Why have the county and the EPA waited 25 years to clean up a toxic site in the vicinity of Cherry Point, adjacent to the Custer Spur rail road line into BP? They are only now, in 2017, taking finally taking emergency action and acting as if the dangerous conditions on the site are a complete shock. 

They knew this site was a problem for a very long time. It was first added to the MTCA [Model  Toxics Control Act] site list in 1994 as category 2 danger (on a rating scale of 1-5) near Cherry Point, with likely discharge of hazardous waste into the Straight of Georgia.

Treoil experienced a spill event in 2001 that was reported not by the company, but by neighboring Exxon. An inspection report reflected a toxicity result of 12 on a scale of 1-12, with 12 being the highest. There were discharges to air, groundwater, and soils. A 2006 and a 2014 report documented the shocking and dangerous conditions on this site and yet still nothing was done.

doe treoil

You can review these documents at the following site:https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/CleanupSiteDocuments.aspx…. I recommend reviewing the last document listed from 2014 for the photographs. Apparently, this is what the county considers to be “light industrial land” based on its zoning.

That the county was not more aggressive in pushing the EPA or even the state into some kind of clean up decades earlier is unacceptable. I am really fed up with a county that has almost no monitoring and review or compliance, instead spending all its time allowing, but never restricting, development. The county needs to do am much better job of protecting the land and people.

The public should be much more outraged about this, particularly given the sensitivity of the site location, and the number and extent of different toxins found on the site. Of all places for the county to be reviewing and monitoring, surely the only heavy impact industrial zone, with 3 refineries should be high on the agenda. The county needs to be more responsible for what happens in the county rather than delegating responsibility to the state and federal government and then washing its hands of any meaningful responsibility.

Read Wendy’s post in the Whatcom Hawk Facebook group here.

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