SK fire, sewer districts agree on property

South Kitsap Fire and Rescue may be near the end of its months-long quest to remove a small area near its headquarters from the Department of Ecology’s list of contaminated sites.

At the last meeting of the SKF&R’s Board of Commissioners, Deputy Chief Dan Olson told the commissioners that Chief Wayne Senter and Karcher Creek Sewer District, the former owner of the site, had prepared paperwork to send to the DOE that they hoped would eventually lead to the area being removed from the list.

The property — at 1974 Fircrest Drive — was added to the state DOE’s list of “suspected” contaminated sites in 1998 when a second pair of abandoned fuel tanks was discovered and dug up. However, it was not inspected by the Kitsap County Health District and moved to the “confirmed” list until early this year.

That inspection revealed some of the soil had unacceptable levels of contaminants, in some cases nearly 50 times the state standard.

Although SKF&R is the current owner of the property, the sewer district owned the property at the time of the alleged contamination, and is therefore still responsible for its cleanup.

In previous meetings, Senter announced that he and Dick Fitzwater, the sewer district’s general manager, had agreed to seek a “restricted covenant” for the property.

“Both sides make a promise not to disturb the soil,” Senter said. “Although it is still arguable that there is anything there.”

Senter said as soon as he learned the fire district’s property was listed as contaminated, he hired a consultant to review the cleanup reports.

“It appears that the (DOE) is not accepting the work that was done by that contractor,” he said, explaining that although the district will not be paying for the cleanup, he then had two estimates prepared that he presented to Fitzwater.

“I asked how much it would cost to do testing to verify if the soil was still contaminated or not, because that is in question, and how much it would cost to just dig it up, haul it out, pave it over and be done with it,” he said. Senter said he was given an estimate of $6,000 for testing costs, while the price for removing the dirt in question was double that at $12,000.

Fitzwater said he was not anxious to go ahead with either more testing or cleanup on the property, because he said the sewer district had already paid more than $25,000 for past work.

“I want to know why our cleanup efforts we paid for in the past were not good enough, rather than just throwing more money at a hole,” he said.

Fitzwater said the contractor the sewer district paid to clean up the property seven years ago — Rene LaMarche of Carrenden Enterprises — believes he performed the work correctly and completely.

Mark Edens of the DOE said that his office had not received the application regarding the site as of yet.

Once it is, Edens said it will be reviewed to see if the clean-up had been performed properly, and if the site qualifies for the restricted covenant.

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