Contaminated Site Cleanups

Cleaning Up Toxic Contamination

The very core of Communities for a Healthy Bay’s work is mobilizing the community to push for the timely, thorough, and long-lasting cleanup of toxic contamination in and around Commencement Bay.

Over the past century, Commencement Bay has undergone dramatic changes – mudflats were filled in to create industrial land and waterways were dredged for marine trade. Not only did these changes reduce habitat for native wildlife, but the heavy industrial activity left thousands of tons of pollution throughout Commencement Bay. This toxic pollution threatens the health of local wildlife and people that live, swim, boat, paddle, or fish on these waters and the waters throughout the Puget Sound. If not addressed, the legacy of this pollution would last for centuries. In the early 1980s, Commencement Bay was declared a national Superfund site as one of the most polluted bodies of water in the entire country. Since then, our community has worked tirelessly to clean up and restore our waters. And while there is no doubt that the bay is cleaner now, there is still much work to be done. Communities for a Healthy Bay continues to fight for strong cleanups that protect the health of our environment, our economy and our community.

Site Cleanup Projects

Occidental Chemical Cleanup Site

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 Department of Ecology is scheduled to soon release their draft Cleanup Action Plan this year, which will describe how the site will be cleaned up, how much pollution will be removed, and how much pollution will be left in the ground.