Ecology releases Rayonier Mill site report

The Department of Ecology this week released a report that summarizes data collected about contamination on part of the Port Angeles Rayonier Mill site.

The Upland Data Summary Report details the amount and type of contamination on the land portions, called the “upland,” of the study area. This report, along with data about nearby marine areas, will help Rayonier develop a plan for cleaning up the study area. 

The study area includes the 75-acre former mill property (upland) and about 1,300 acres of marine environment.

The amount and type of contamination varies across the upland. Because of past partial cleanups that removed over 30,000 tons of contaminated soil, only lower levels of contamination remain across much of the upland.

The data report found polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans, or toxic metals including arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, manganese, mercury and nickel in soil, groundwater and surface water. In subsurface soil, defined as deeper than 2 feet, the study found total petroleum hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Some PCBs also were found at low levels in groundwater.

Rayonier also found some areas of low and high pH in groundwater, which is a concern because this can cause some metals to move out of soil and into groundwater. The pH scale measures a material’s acid or alkaline content.

The Rayonier study area is being cleaned up under an agreed order, which is a legal agreement to conduct a remedial investigation and to evaluate cleanup options. The remedial investigation evaluates the extent of contamination. A document called a feasibility study details cleanup options.

Rayonier is on schedule with its agreed order tasks. Rayonier’s next deadline is in March, when a draft marine data summary report is due. Ecology recently released two Port Angeles Harbor pollution study reports on the results of a large-scale sediment sampling effort in Port Angeles Harbor. This started the clock on a 90-day timeline for submitting the marine data summary report to Ecology.

Ecology will hold a public comment period in 2014 when Rayonier’s marine data report and analysis of study area cleanup options are available, in addition to the upland data report. Ecology is making the upland report available for public review now because it is so large and technical. Questions about the cleanup and report can be addressed to site manager Marian Abbett at

The study can be reviewed at the following locations:
• Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.
• Peninsula College Library, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles
• Ecology Southwest Regional Office, 300 Desmond Drive SE, Lacey, by appointment; contact Debbie Nelson,, 360-407-6365
• Ecology’s webpage:
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