Murray Announces Full Senate Passage of $1 Million for the Port of Ridgefield in VA-HUD Bill

Nov 08 2001

Grant is twice as large as Congress approved last year

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced final Congressional passage of the fiscal year 2002 VA-HUD Conference Report. The Report includes $1 million to clean up contaminated water at the Port of Ridgefield. The Conference Report passed the Senate by a vote of 87-7 and will now go to President Bush to be signed into law. Last year Senator Murray worked with Rep. Brian Baird and Senator Slade Gorton to secure $500,000 in EPA's budget for this project.

"I am pleased that my colleagues have committed these funds to clean up underground pollution contaminating the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge," Murray said. "In helping the Port of Ridgefield to redevelop this brownfield we will facilitate a healthier environment for our families and revitalization for our businesses."

The Port of Ridgefield once leased land to Pacific Wood Treating Corporation, which went bankrupt in 1993. The company chemically treated wood with creosote, pentachlorophenol, copper, chromium and arsenic, and left behind 30 years worth of soil and groundwater contamination.

The most urgent problem is a 2-4 acre underground plume of contaminated water moving toward a deeper, regional aquifer, as well as toward Carty Lake, which is adjacent to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, and toward Lake River, a tributary of the Columbia River.

The Washington state Department of Ecology has declared an Emergency Action to address the contamination. The state has committed to provide 65 percent of the $48 million total cleanup cost. The Department of Ecology has also agreed to loan the Port the remaining 35 percent so that cleanup can begin immediately. The Port plans to begin paying for 10 percent of the total cost after ten years, but is seeking federal funds to cover the remaining 25 percent.