Port of Sunnyside Gets $300,000 Grant for Carnation Cleanup

Department of Ecology News Release, April 11, 2013

The Port of Sunnyside will use a $300,000 state grant to finish cleaning up contamination at the old Carnation industrial milk processing plant to protect the environment and to bring new business and family-wage jobs to the community.

The port will start cleanup work in this spring to ready the property at 111 E. Lincoln Ave. for brownfield redevelopment. The port expects to complete the work by 2015, according to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), which provided the grant.

Brownfield sites are abandoned or underused properties where there may be environmental contamination. Redevelopment efforts are often hindered by the liability for the cleanup or the uncertainty of cleanup costs. Brownfield sites that aren’t cleaned up represent lost opportunities for economic development and for other community improvements.

The port used a previous Ecology grant to complete a detailed evaluation of the property, including studying the building integrity of the old plant. The examination also looked at details regarding the extent and type of environmental contamination and potential uses for the property.

Based on the evaluation, the port officially bought the property in December 2012.

Port Property Manager Jed Crowther said: “The port appreciates the assistance of the Department of Ecology in funding the study and the remediation performed by Maul, Foster & Alongi as well as U.S. Bank in obtaining the property – a positive, collaborative project.”

A legal agreement between Ecology and the port outlines the details for the cleanup. The port will excavate soil at the site to clean up lead. It also will use aggressive treatment methods to substantially reduce solvents that contaminate groundwater at the property.

“We’re so excited about this project moving forward. I applaud port officials for their leadership and creative thinking. This project was their idea, and Ecology is happy to provide technical assistance and funding,” said Valerie Bound, who heads Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program in Yakima.

“Not everyone understands how cleanup is important to the environment, health and economy of our local communities,” she said. “We appreciate the ability to work with local partners like the Port on projects that directly improve their communities.”

At the April 15 Port Commission meeting, Port Executive Director Jay Hester will officially sign the grant agreement on behalf of the port.

Hester said: “Our goal is to prepare the site for positive redevelopment, paving the way for new business and jobs for our community.”

Cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields can turn a perceived problem into a community asset. A restored brownfield can stimulate a community’s economy. A community like Sunnyside can restore properties to active use, increase jobs and the local tax base, mitigate public health and safety concerns, and improve the community’s image.

The $300,000 in funding for the project comes from state’s voter-approved tax on hazardous substances.

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