The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Parking lot purchase shows lack of foresight


To The Eagle:

The recent vote by the Cathlamet town Council to purchase the property owned by former Council member Bernadette Goodroe was clearly unethical and an obvious gift of public funds.

When the existing gas station and auto repair shop were removed the site went through a remediation process to remove the majority of the contamination, but due to technical difficulties the site could not be fully abated. Consequently, the State of Washington Department of Ecology placed a restricted covenant on the property because residual concentrations were found to be present. Documented release of gasoline, diesel, and oil range hydrocarbons, benzene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, and carcinogenic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons were found in the soil.

Section 1 of the Restricted Covenant put in place in February 2006 states the following:

“The owner shall not alter, modify, or remove the parking lot or retaining wall in the area of residual petroleum hydrocarbon constituents shown in Attachment A in any manner that may result in the release or exposure to the environment of contaminated soil. Some examples of activities that are prohibited without prior written approval of the Department of Ecology include: drilling, digging, placement of any objects or use of any equipment which deforms or stresses the surface beyond its load bearing capability, piercing the surface with rod, spike or similar item, bulldozing or earthworks.”

During the meeting, Council Member Sue Cameron stated that the intended use would be to construct a green space on the property. Would you want your children and grandchildren using a park that still contains dangerous toxic waste?

I feel that the decision by the council to purchase the property illustrates the continuing lack of forethought and due diligence which could result in the town owning a piece of worthless unusable ground.

Steven Lake



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