Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Section: News
Edition: Final
Page: B3 P-I staff and news services
Dateline: SEATTLE

The Port of Seattle Commission approved a $4.1 million change order Tuesday to send to a landfill about 21,000 cubic yards of dredged material containing 7 pounds of PCBs. The material will be removed from a Superfund site east of Harbor Island to make way for deep draft container ships.

PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls, industrial chemicals that were banned in the late 1970s because of the harm they cause to humans; PCBs have been shown to cause behavioral and learning deficits in children exposed in the womb.

Legally, the port could have dumped the material into a site in the middle of Elliott Bay, which has received nearly 2.5 million cubic yards of dredged mud and sand since it was opened in 1989.

Because they do not readily dissolve in water, preferring instead to glom on to fat, PCBs left in the marine environment can be passed up the food chain until they reach humans and Puget Sound’s resident orcas, which scientists and environmentalists say are the most polluted orcas in the world.

The commission also authorized the new total cost of the $126 million cargo expansion project that will move two cruise ship berths to Terminal 91 in Interbay from Terminal 30, which will revamped for containerized trade by April.

~ by fredfelleman on October 17, 2008.

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