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DNR, Point Ruston sign agreement for final phase of aquatic lands cleanup

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Oct. 19, 2012 at 10:52 am |
October 19, 2012 10:56 am

The Washington Department of Natural Resources and Point Ruston LLC this week signed an agreement to complete final cleanup of nine more acres of state-owned aquatic lands contaminated by decades of industrial activity at the former Asarco copper smelter.

Point Ruston is a $1 billion-plus mixed use development being built on the 97-acre site of the former smelter near Point Defiance Park.

DNR and Point Ruston have already cleaned up and capped more than half of the 18-acres of state-owned underwater land adjacent to the development site at a cost of $7.5 million. The new agreement calls for cleanup of the remaining state lands.

“This is the final cleanup to restore our aquatic lands and bring the toxic legacy of this superfund site to an end,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.

“When we purchased this property in 2006, we took on the daunting task of bringing all of the stakeholders to the table and allocating the costs of this cleanup to the responsible parties,” said Mike Cohen, managing partner of the development company behind the Point Ruston project.

He praised Goldmark for helping get the job accomplished.

Point Ruston has spent more than $100 million cleaning up the old mill site and readying it for redevelopment. The first major building on the site, the 173-unit Copperline Apartments, is scheduled to open in early 2013. A 3/4-mile public waterfront pedestrian and bicycle path will open at the same time at the site.

The Asarco site presented a particularly difficult cleanup project because the mill specialized in processing high-arsenic-content ore.

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