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Brownfields site cleanup to resume

With funding in place, cleanup work on the Port Orchard Brownfields site is scheduled to resume this week.

Housing Kitsap (formerly the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority) will hold a project kickoff ceremony presided by Mayor Lary Coppola, the project team, Housing Kitsap Executive Director, and agency representatives from the Departments of Commerce, Ecology and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The kickoff marks the continuance of cleanup work and site improvements, including low-impact-development stormwater control strategies, on the Mitchell Avenue Phase II Site.

The one-acre property is bordered by the Mitchell Avenue Phase I Site on the north, which contains senior housing.

In late 2005 a Phase II ESA investigation was conducted using funds from a $55,000 EPA Assessment grant. The Phase II ESA defined the approximate extent of soil and groundwater contamination to identify the rationale for field activities, the site conditions and previous investigations, and Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).

In 2007, Housing Kitsap received a $173,104 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove sources of surface and subsurface contamination where a garage formerly used by the Port Orchard Fire Department was located.

The environmental consulting firm of Kennedy/Jenks was selected and RV & Associates conducted excavation and offsite disposal of approximately 1,263 tons of contaminated soil material.

Confirmation sampling of soil samples collected in November and December 2009 indicated that petroleum hydrocarbon, total carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (cPAH), and benzene concentrations above the state’s MTCA Method A soil cleanup levels remain onsite at two locations.

The cleanup exceeded original estimates and the project could not proceed due to lack of funds after EPA grant money was exhausted.

Site activities were halted earlier this year. Over the following months, Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes of Grant-Solutions worked with Housing Kitsap to locate alternate funds.

Housing Kitsap was offered a sub-award of up to $150,000 from the Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) using EPA’s federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Brownfields grant funds to complete the cleanup.

On Sept. 1, a contract was signed between the two parties and cleanup planning began.

The Brownfields Cleanup Fund is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Washington State Department of Ecology, and Coalition partners.

The Department of Ecology provides programmatic and financial support, as well as technical review of the cleanup projects.

The funds will be used to remove remaining sources of surface and subsurface contamination including petroleum hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, and benzene concentrations above Ecology’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) levels.

Low-impact site design and development practices will emphasize conservation of natural areas, minimizing site disturbance, reducing impervious (hard) surfaces, and utilize natural landscape features for stormwater treatment where possible.

“Housing Kitsap is looking forward to completing this cleanup effort and producing a clean site,” said Casey Pleskun, Housing Kitsap's Project Director. “We would not be able to accomplish this without the collaborated efforts and help of the EPA, Department of Commerce, Department of Ecology, the city of Port Orchard, Kathleen and Grant-Solutions.”

“We’re anxious to see the end of this cleanup,” Coppola said, “because proceeding with development at this location has the potential to create jobs while benefiting seniors and adding something unique to our city.

“The greater community,” he said, “will profit from economic opportunities provided by the construction and in time; jobs will also be created to provide nursing care, handyman work, home maintenance, and food services.”

In 1999, the Port Orchard City Council had passed a resolution that targeted the site to provide affordable housing opportunities for low-income seniors.

The redevelopment of the Mitchell Avenue site is expected to spur revitalization efforts in the entire Port Orchard community and impact the community’s lowest-income residents by providing affordable housing, reducing gentrification, establishing common links between business and community centers through pedestrian-friendly view corridors while taking advantage of bus access and ferries.

For more information about the Mitchell project, contact Housing Kitsap project director Casey Pleskun at (360) 535-6130 or project manager Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes at (360) 697-5815 or by email to grantsolutions@comcast.net

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