Sound Status Update – February 2020

Plans for the Occidental Chemical Superfund cleanup

For nearly 80 years, Occidental Chemical Corporation (Oxy) made dry-cleaning chemicals along the Hylebos Waterway, in Commencement Bay, Tacoma. Decades of poor housekeeping practices and improperly disposing of their waste left the groundwater and soil in the area contaminated by toxins like bleach, heavy metals and cancer-causing compounds. The resulting pollution plume is the worst unaddressed contamination in Commencement Bay. Today, the pollution plume is the size of five CenturyLink Fields and stretches underneath the Hylebos Waterway, reaching all the way to Marine View Drive. The pollution is so caustic, in fact, that it’s dissolving rocks into jelly.

The Washington Department of Ecology will soon release their Cleanup Action Plan, which will lay out how much pollution Oxy must clean up. As soon as Ecology’s Cleanup Action Plan is released, we will be sure to notify the public and provide information on how to you can help make sure Oxy pays for the most effective clean up possible.

To learn more about Oxy, how it will be cleaned up, and how we will push for the strongest cleanup option possible, join our Arising Issues Listserv!

Important update regarding Cheers to a Healthy Bay

Citizens for a Healthy Bay has been closely monitoring the quickly evolving situation regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In recent days, it has become clear that rescheduling our Cheers to a Healthy Bay Dinner & Auction on March 27 is the right thing to do in order to protect the health and safety of the community, including attendees, employees, sponsors, and other partners. Health and safety are more important than an event, and we did not feel we should host our fundraiser knowing that some in our community – our elders, pregnant individuals, those with underlying health conditions – would be unable to attend. It’s not community if any are excluded.

We will host a rescheduled fundraiser on Friday, May 22. While the date of the event has changed, the time and location will remain the same.

For more information regarding Cheers to a Healthy Bay, tickets, and more, please read our official statement.

Proposed Dredging of the Blair Waterway

Poster of the Blair Waterway dredging options

In January, we had the opportunity to learn more about the Port of Tacoma’s proposal to widen and deepen the Blair Waterway to make room for the world’s largest cargo ships. Because of the risk this project poses to our environment and our health, we requested the Port of Tacoma to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement for this project because it would ensure that the environmental risks are fully analyzed and understood before the project moves forward, if at all.

Over the next year, the Port of Tacoma will be reviewing public comments and recommendations, and will then incorporate them into their planning. Thank you to everyone who attended the public meetings and submitted comments, we need to keep the pressure on to ensure that our Bay is safe!

South Sound Sustainability Expo – Rescheduled

While CHB was planning to attend the South Sound Sustainability Expo on Saturday, March 14, the event has been rescheduled due to public health concerns. A new date has not been determined, but stay tuned for more information.

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