A $7.2 million effort to cover polluted near-shore areas adjoining a major Tacoma housing and retail development project on Commencement Bay with clean fill is due for completion this week.
The pollutants are a legacy of the decades when the Point Ruston site near Point Defiance Park was the location of a big Asarco copper smelter. That smelter close in the mid ’80s, and the cleanup efforts have been moving forward ever since.
Point Ruston is a $1 billion-plus mixed use development on the copper smelter site. Plans call for apartments, single family homes and condominiums on the site along with a waterfront esplanade and a shopping and office district. Single family homes have already been built on the hill overlooking the site, and the first major structure, an eight-story apartment building is due to open April 1.
Mike Cohen, managing partner at Point Ruston, said the near- shore bottom adjoining the development is being capped with more than 100,000 tons of clean rock and fill. The cap is being placed precisely on the bottom using a barge and crane that plots where the fill is being placed with global positioning system coordinates.
The bottom is first covered with larger rip-rap and then finer “fish friendly” gravel some three feet deep.
The rocky fill is being loaded onto barges on the Hylebos Waterway in the Port of Tacoma and then brought to the site by tug for placement.
Pacific Pile and Marine is doing the work under a contract with the Point Ruston development. The state Department of Natural Resources is paying most of the cost of the remediation project.