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July 7, 2016

$2.2M Ecology grant will pay for cleanup at new County jail site

Cleanup of the contaminated Truck City property in south Mount Vernon just got a $2.2 million boost thanks to a grant from the Washington Department of Ecology.

The Remedial Action Grant from Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program will help Skagit County complete assessment, cleanup and monitoring of the former Truck City property, where the new Skagit County Jail is currently under construction. The total cost of cleanup is estimated at $2.5 million.

“To say we’re thrilled by this news is an understatement,” said Skagit County Board of Commissioners Chair Lisa Janicki. “The grant reimburses us for the work we’ve already done and covers 90 percent of the total expense to clean up the site.”

The roughly 8-acre parcel previously served at the Truck City Truck Stop for more than 30 years, with an on-site gas station, underground fuel storage tanks, truck weigh station, washing facilities, and more. Since acquiring the property in January 2015, the County worked with Bellingham-based Maul Foster & Alongi to demolish the old facilities and excavate and remove contaminated soils.

“During this remediation project, we used robust cleanup technology to make sure we protected both public health and the environment,” said Jim Darling, Principal with Maul Foster & Alongi. “With Ecology’s partnership, the County is able to transform a once-contaminated property into a valuable community facility. This is a great example of state and local cooperation.”
                      
Ecology grant funding allows the County to expedite the cleanup process at the contaminated site. In addition to bioremediation, which will speed up the process of breaking down any petroleum-based hydrocarbons in the soil, the county plans to conduct regular groundwater monitoring.
                                                                              
The grant funding is post-dated to Jan. 1, 2013, and is available for use through June 30, 2017. Grant funds come from a voter-approved tax on hazardous substances under the state’s cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act. The grants help local governments clean up the environment and return properties to beneficial public use. About 90 percent of revenues generated by the hazardous substances tax come from petroleum products.

“We’re pleased to be able to support this project. It improves our environment, provides an economic boost from construction and reuse of the cleaned-up site, and benefits the Skagit County community,” said Bob Warren, who heads the Toxics Cleanup Program’s Northwest Region staff in Bellevue.

Find more information about the new County jail, including a live time-lapse camera, online at http://skagitcounty.net/Departments/Jail/main.htm. For questions or more details, please contact Bronlea Mishler at bronleam@co.skagit.wa.us or 360-416-1309.