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Navy unveils Maritime Park area cleanup

The Navy’s final proposed plan for its decade-long environmental clean-up of the Bremerton Naval Complex Superfund site was unveiled recently to a small crowd at the Sylvan Way Library.

The final site, referred by the Navy as Operable Unit D, is 5.3 acres on the base’s easternmost edge located next to the Bremerton ferry terminal. Work has already begun with the demolition of Building 289, though the bulk of the project isn’t expected to begin in earnest until next summer and take two or three years to complete.

What makes Operational Unit D unique from the previous clean-up jobs is that it is being evaluated as a residential area instead of an industrial area because 1.7 acres closest to the ferry is slated to be transferred to the City of Bremerton as Maritime Park.

“Our human health risk assessment concluded that cancerous and non-cancerous levels were acceptable for human use, but they exceed the state Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) clean-up criteria,” environmental engineer Bill Winters said during the presentation.

He added that the latest round of samples taken in 2003 showed remnants of heavy metals (zinc, mercury), petroleum products, pesticides (including DDT), tetrachloroethene (a degreasing chemical) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (which are a byproduct of burning coal and oil), all remains of more than a century of shipyard activities.

According to documents, the preferred cleanup involves capping the Navy’s 3.6-acre portion with an impermeable layer of pavement, while the Maritime Park’s 1.7 acres will be covered in at least 2 feet of clean soil. The entire area will have its stormwater system cleaned and repaired or replaced as needed. Project manager Dwight Leslie said the Navy will continue to monitor for groundwater contaminants on its portion of the property which was a concern to most of the attendees. Costs for the cleanup is estimated at $2.3-$3.1 million, not including moving historical Building 50 to the city’s portion for the new home of the Bremerton Naval Museum. Winters said this cost aligned with similar projects with this type of contamination and amount of cleanup required.

“This won’t be a final plan until we consider all the comments to complete our evaluation,” he said. The final plan will be decided on by officials from the Navy, the Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Ecology

“What we have is an idea what the park might look like, but not an actual design from the city,” Abbott said. One profile showed a flat grass-covered area on the eastern side of the park with a small berm running parallel to the shipyard’s fence.

The Navy plans on taking comments through Wednesday, Aug. 25. Written comments can be sent to Patricia Hubler, Congressional and Public Affairs Office, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, 1400 Farragut Ave., Bremerton, Wash. 98314-5001, or via email to pao@psns.navy.mil.

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