PORT OF SEATTLE COMMISSION

The following motion passed unanimously by the Port Commission due to the leadership of President Creighton.

Fred

PRESS RELEASE
September 11, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact:
David Schaefer, 206.728.3408
The Port of Seattle
Commission Directs Staff to Pursue Upland Disposal

Port to work with King County on Terminal 30 dredge project

The Port of Seattle Commission today directed its staff to work with King County to dispose of about 20,000 cubic yards of dredged materials from Elliott Bay in an approved upland landfill.

“We strongly support policies and projects that grow our region’s maritime industrial economy in an environmentally sustainable manner,” said Port Commission President John Creighton.

“This terminal project is very important for our future,” Creighton added, “but we must proceed by keeping in mind that environmental stewardship is a top priority. We see this as in line with our goal to be among the cleanest, greenest, most energy-efficient ports in the country.”

The dredged material – part of a project to return the Port’s Terminal 30 to use as a container terminal – contains a small concentration of PCBs. A total of 60,000 cubic yards are to be dredged to deepen the channel from a current 44 feet to 51 feet to accommodate large container ships.

About one-third of the material with the highest concentration of PCBs would be land filled; the remainder would be disposed of in an approved open-water site in a deeper part of Elliott Bay.

The Commission action today calls for the staff to develop a cost-sharing agreement with the county for the disposal, as well as to seek federal funds.

Port staff also will go back to the four regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over the project to ensure that upland disposal will not delay the project.

Terminal 30 has been used as a cruise ship facility for the past five years. Because of growth in international trade, the Port will convert it back to use as a container facility. When combined with a nearby terminal, the new 70-acre facility is scheduled to be open for cargo and container use by 2009. It has been leased for 30 years by SSA, the company which also operates Terminal 18 in the Seattle harbor.

Cruise operations will move to Pier 91, near Magnolia, in the 2009 season.

“We are very pleased to be able to work with King County on this project,” Creighton said. “We commend the County Executive and the County Council for their leadership on this and other environmental issues.  We would like the Port to explore further collaboration with the County on efforts to ensure and maintain a healthy Puget Sound and waterways in and around the County.”

However, Creighton noted that it is essential any change of plans for the Terminal 30-Terminal 91 project be accommodated under the current schedule.

“Both these facilities must be open for the 2009 season,” Creighton said. “We have customers who are depending on our schedule, and thousands of workers in the Puget Sound area, in associated industries, who rely on the Port to deliver construction projects on time.”

MOTIONS

September 11, 2007
Statement in Support of Motions

The Port of Seattle Commission (the “Commission”) believes that a strong and vibrant maritime industrial economy is instrumental in promoting economic vitality and growing a diverse and good-paying job base in our region. The Commission strongly supports policies that grow our region’s maritime industrial economy in a sustainable manner and that address issues of land use, freight mobility and environmental stewardship.

The Commission has made environmental stewardship its top priority, and following our direction, the Port’s Chief Executive Officer has set a goal for the Port of Seattle (the “Port”) to be among the “greenest, cleanest and most energy efficient” ports in the United States. The Commission believes that the Port – in order (i) to fulfill its responsibilities as a public agency and (ii) to be a good neighbor to the communities it serves – must continue to be a leader in environmental stewardship and remediation, particularly in the area of protection and enhancement of water quality and marine habitat in the Puget Sound basin. The Commission commends Port staff for their ongoing work in environmental stewardship and remediation in and around Port operations.

In order to further regional economic development, create jobs and take advantage of the growth in seaborne trade with Asia, the Commission earlier this year approved a plan to convert Terminal 30 for use as a container ship terminal. In conjunction with the planned conversion, it will be necessary to dredge the East Duwamish Waterway in the area of Terminal 30 to accommodate increasingly deeper draft container vessels.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”) has recently issued a permit allowing in-water disposal of sediment dredged from the Duwamish East Waterway as part of the Terminal 30 project, provided that the cleanest sediment is dredged last and used to cap the more contaminated sediments. Issuance of this permit required concurrence by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and Washington Department of Ecology. Testing performed on the sediment indicates that it contains a low enough level of contamination to permit in-water disposal of the dredged sediment. However, analysis of the sediment samples indicates that the most contaminated portion of the sediment contains PCBs in the approximate concentration of 160 parts per billion (below State standards requiring upland disposal of sediments), and the testing data further indicates that the majority of the PCBs is associated with the Lander Street Outfall, which is owned and operated by Martin Luther King, Jr. County (the “County”). Moreover, based on the data provided by the Corps, it appears that over three-quarters of the PCB contamination is found within a third of the sediments proposed for open water disposal.

The Commission is in agreement with, and supportive of, the Puget Sound Partnership’s goal of restoring the health of Puget Sound by 2020. In the interest of furthering that effort, the Commission would like to investigate exceeding regulatory requirements in this project and evaluate the feasibility of upland disposal for the most contaminated portion of the dredged material.

The Commission has previously stated its strong desire for the Port to be a partner with the State and regional governments in cleaning up Puget Sound. The Commission is pleased that the Port and the County are working together on a feasibility study exploring the land-side disposal of bio-solids generated on board cruise ships. We commend the County for its leadership on this and other environmental issues. We would like the Port to explore further collaboration with the County on efforts to ensure and maintain a healthy Puget Sound and waterways in and around the County.

Motions
The PORT OF SEATTLE COMMISSION hereby moves the following:

1. The Commission directs Port staff to develop with the County a proposal for a cooperative effort between the Port and the County to dredge and dispose in an upland site the more contaminated sediments (approximately 20,000 cubic yards) associated with the Lander Street Outfall as part of the Terminal 30 project, which would include:

(a) An agreement between the Port and the County to share the costs of such upland disposal in an equitable manner; and

(b) The exploration by Port and County staff of the prospect of obtaining State or Federal funds (including but not limited to funding from the Federal Harbor Maintenance Fund) for such upland disposal.

2. Port staff shall look into the process for obtaining the necessary permit modifications to allow for upland disposal. Port staff shall report back to the Commission no later than December 11, 2007 regarding the practicality of pursuing the upland disposal option, including a description of expected additional costs, permit conditions, and schedule impacts. This report shall identify the date by which those permits must be obtained in order to pursue the upland disposal option without impacting the overall project schedule.

~ by fredfelleman on September 11, 2007.

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