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SKFR contamination cleanup finished

A contractor hired to remove soil near South Kitsap Fire and Rescue’s headquarters that the state Department of Ecology declared contaminated two years ago has completed the work, according to Chief Wayne Senter.

“All of the soil is cleaned up,” Senter reported at the latest SKFR Board of Commissioners’ meeting Thursday night. “It went really well. I’m really pleased.”

The site was added to the DOE’s list of “suspected” con-taminated sites in 1998 when a pair of abandoned fuel tanks was dug up, but was not inspected by the Kitsap County Health District and moved to the “confirmed” list until 2005.

At that time, Grant Holdcroft, a county environmental specialist, said the property only received a negative score in one category — human health impacts from groundwater — but it was a high enough amount for the site to be ranked a 2 out of 5, with the worst being 1.

Since the site was deemed contaminated, officials from SKFR and the former owners, Karcher Creek Sewer District, have discussed how to remove the site from the contaminated list. They contemplated a “restricted covenance” — promising not to disturb the soil — and also discussed testing the site again to confirm the extent of the contamination.

However, last year Senter announced the districts decided to hire someone to just remove the soil and “get us off the contaminated list once and for all.”

In January, SKFR accepted a bid for $75,350 by Engineering Remediation RG to remove the dirt, after agreeing to postpone the work at the request of the sewer district, which must pay the clean-up costs.

Senter said now that the clean-up is done, the district is waiting for its consultant to prepare the reports and submit a request to the DOE to have the site removed from its contaminated list.

“We will ask for a speedy review — which at the DOE is usually at glacial speed,” Senter said.

When asked why the site’s official inspection came seven years after it was added to the “suspected” list, Holdcroft said it was because his department can only complete inspections on about four or five sites every six months, and that particular site was considered a low priority.

“It was at the bottom of the list, because it was not considered really egregious,” he said, explaining that it also was not a high priority since some clean-up had already been completed there.

“We knew some action had been taken already, and if they had found something really bad, we would have been informed about it,” he said, explaining that what happened is that apparently the crews removing the tanks and the surrounding contaminated dirt “did not remove enough.”

Senter said he knew of two cleanups on the property, once during construction of a maintenance building in 1998, and the latest in 2001 before work began on the new Central Communications tower.

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