January 23, 2009
Contact: Jane Chavey, 360-902-1721
State DNR to Remove Creosote-treated Pilings and Beach Debris in Kitsap County
Removals begin on public and private sites next Thursday
OLYMPIA – Washington’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today signed a contract to clean up toxic creosote-treated debris and pilings from 19 sites on tidelands and offshore in Kitsap County, announced Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. The contractor is Lake Shore Marine Construction, Inc., from Mukilteo, which will receive $196,383 for their work.
“These localized cleanup projects can have a big impact on the overall health of Puget Sound,” said Goldmark. “Pulling creosote pilings before they break off and create hazards for boaters will improve safety for recreational users as well.”
Piling removals will take place before the fish window closes February 28. Beach cleanups will continue through March. Removals will take place on both private and public tidelands within Kitsap County. Important partnerships were formed to support the success of the project. They include Kitsap County, Port of Bremerton, the City of Bainbridge Island, State Parks and private landowners. The first project will be at Harper Estuary, near the public dock. A barge will be set up on Wednesday for the three days of work to remove 33 derelict pilings and ‘dolphin’ (grouped pilings), to begin Thursday. Then DNR and the contractor will move on to Eagle Harbor to remove the 111 pilings at the Strawberry Plant, and roughly 60 pilings on private waterfront tidelands within Eagle Harbor and Port Madison. Next will be beach cleanups at Hawley Cove (12.8 tons) and Wing Point (17.6 tons).
Additional beach cleanup sites include: Blake Island (22.7 tons of creosote or treated wood), Bainbridge Island at Tolo Lagoon (10 tons), Battle Point (18.2 tons), Port Madison (1.6 tons), Murden Cove (46.8 tons), and Fay Bainbridge (7.4 tons).
There are hundreds of thousands of derelict creosote pilings throughout Puget Sound, many of which have broken off and distributed tons of debris onto beaches. Creosote is a toxic chemical and a known carcinogen. Recent studies have shown that chemicals in treated wood materials can be harmful, and even lethal to many marine species. Herring eggs exposed to creosote have a high mortality rate, and English sole develop liver lesions when exposed to the chemicals. Impacts on salmon health also have been observed in recent studies. These and other negatively affected species are an important part of the food chain for salmon, orca whales, and birds such as the western grebe. The health of Puget Sound is also intimately connected with the health of our economy.
Successful program since 2004
DNR’s Creosote Removal Program began in 2004, and since then, with partners and contractors DNR has removed 5,997.18 tons of creosote logs and other chemically treated wood removed (pilings and beaches). The breakdown: 1,738.81 tons from beaches and 4,258.37 tons from pilings.
Caring for your natural resources … now and forever
Washington’s 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands—including many beaches, the bedlands under Puget Sound and the coast, natural lakes, and navigable rivers—are managed by DNR as a “public trust” for the people of the state. DNR leases aquatic lands to private users both for water-dependent uses, such as boat moorage and shellfish cultivation, and for non-water-dependent uses such as restaurants and office buildings.
Peter Goldmark, who administers DNR, is Washington’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889.
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