Community and State leaders gathered this week to celebrate the start of a $30.6 million project on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront to cleanup historic contamination in the Whatcom Waterway.
Large floating cranes, barges, and other marine construction equipment have arrived to remove 159,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, as well as concrete and asphalt rubble from almost a mile of shoreline.
Representatives from the Port, City of Bellingham, Department of Ecology, Lummi Nation, Department of Natural Resources and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife were on hand to commemorate the start of the $30.6 million cleanup project.
“The Whatcom Waterway cleanup project is essential to the redevelopment of Bellingham’s downtown waterfront” said Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville. “It will be fantastic to finish this phase of work so the City can begin building parks and roads to access the waterfront.”
The project will protect human health and the environment, restore salmon habitat, rebuild existing marine infrastructure, and create new job opportunities.
“There will be a tremendous amount of economic activity associated with the Whatcom Waterway cleanup” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix. “The combination of short-and long term economic benefits will serve as a platform for job creation and tax growth as we return this property to productive use and connect downtown Bellingham to the central waterfront.”
The Whatcom Waterway cleanup is being paid for by a combination of state cleanup grants and the Port’s pre-paid environmental insurance policy. Construction will be complete by mid-2016.