The cleanup process for the worst toxic contamination left in Commencement Bay is starting to move forward. Occidental Chemical Corporation, formerly operating in Tacoma, contaminated the soil and groundwater of the Hylebos Waterway in Commencement Bay. The Feasibility Study, which compares potential cleanup options for the contaminated site, is under review and open for public comments. As state officials decide on a cleanup plan, the company responsible is pushing for a cheap option instead of an effective one. We can’t let that happen.
Threats from Pollution
This pollution poses an immediate threat to both people and the environment. As it enters the waters of the Hylebos, contamination is swept out to Commencement Bay, critically threatening the health of wildlife. Humans can be exposed to these pollutants by breathing in contaminated dust, swallowing contaminated soil or water, or by eating contaminated fish or shellfish. The contaminants are so harsh and unsafe that the pollution plume can eventually release toxic, cancer-causing gasses like vinyl chloride into our air and water.
Pushing for an Effective Cleanup
The severity of Occidental Chemical Corporation’s pollution landed the site on the federal list of Superfund cleanups in the early 1980s. Decades later, we are finally nearing the start of the cleanup. The Washington Department of Ecology is currently deciding on a cleanup plan, which will determine how much pollution gets removed, and how much will stay in the environment forever.
However, the company responsible is setting the stage to walk away from this mess without a comprehensive cleanup. Occidental Chemical Corporation is pushing for a cleanup that would remove only 41% of the toxic pollution. Cleaning less than half of this dangerous contamination is unacceptable. Despite the fact that Occidental brought in a whopping $152 million in pre-tax profits during last quarter alone, the company is advocating for a cheap option instead of an effective one. We cannot afford to let polluters walk away from their mess. That’s why we need you to push for the strongest cleanup possible.
How Can I Help?
Attend our public workshop: Citizens for a Healthy Bay is hosting a public forum on the Occidental Chemical Pollution Cleanup to learn more about the pollution, the risks it poses, and how to make your public comments as strong as possible. There will also be a Q&A session to address any concerns you may have.
What: Community Forum on Occidental Chemical Pollution Cleanup
When: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm on Wednesday, April 5th
Where: UW Tacoma Campus, Keystone Bldg, room KEY 102
Facebook event: Occidental Chemical Pollution Cleanup Public Forum
Send your comments to:
Kerry Graber, Site Manager
Washington State Department of Ecology
PO Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775
Citizens for a Healthy Bay has been involved in the Occidental cleanup process for nearly two decades. We are committed to providing the community with reliable and accurate information. We will continue to work with stakeholders and the community to ensure a healthy future for Tacoma and our waters – this means holding Occidental accountable for a stringent and thorough cleanup.
Email Ryan Cruz or call (253) 383-2429 for more information or to receive updates on this issue.