EPA ID# WAD008957243
EPA Region 10
Whatcom County

2nd Congressional District

Other Names: Little Squalicum Creek
Last Update: December, 2011

Hide details for Site DescriptionSite Description

The Oeser Company, located in a mixed residential and industrial area of Bellingham, prepares and treats wood poles for utility companies. Most of the approximately 23.5 acre site is used to store treated and untreated logs. The wood-treating plant covers about three acres of the site. Creosote, which contains semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), has been used as a wood treating preservative in the past. Since the 1970's, oil containing pentachlorophenol (PCP) has been the primary wood treating agent. The terrain at the site is relatively flat, but south of the site the terrain drops 30 to 40 feet into a ravine drained by Little Squalicum Creek. The creek is fed by storm water discharges from several outfalls serving a mixed residential and industrial area, including the Oeser Company's facility, and by groundwater. Little Squalicum creek flows into Bellingham Bay, a popular commercial fishery and shellfish harvesting area. Fish and other aquatic species are generally not found in Little Squalicum Creek due, in part, to elevated levels of contaminants from a variety of sources. Migratory birds, including peregrine falcons and bald eagles, and other wildlife make their homes in the area.

Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through federal actions.

NPL Listing HistoryDates
Proposed Date:12/23/1996
Removed Date:
Withdrawal Date:
Final Date:09/25/1997
Deleted Date:

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Media Affected: Air, Environmentally Sensitive Area, Soil & Sludges
Over the years, creosote, PCP, and carrier oil have been released to the environment. Contamination is most severe in the wood-treatment area, where surface soil, subsurface soil, and groundwater are contaminated with these substances. PCP and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) levels of several hundred to several thousand parts per million (ppm) are common in subsurface soil, and a light non-aqueous phase liquid (presumably lost PCP solution) has been recovered from monitoring wells. Soil contaminated with PCP, PAHs, and carrier oil also has been found in other areas of the facility, and dioxin, a contaminant present in a commercial-grade PCP, has been found in facility surface soil.

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Hide details for Regional ContactsRegional Contacts

SITE MANAGER(S):Howard Orlean
E-MAIL ADDRESS:orlean.howard@epa.gov
PHONE NUMBER:206-553-2851
E-MAIL ADDRESSmorrison.kay@epa.gov
PHONE NUMBER:206-553-8321
Information pertaining to this site is housed at the following location(s):
EPA Region 10 Superfund Records Center (Administrative Record)
1200 Sixth Avenue, ECL-076
Seattle, Washington 98101

City of Bellingham Library (Selected Documents)
210 Central
Bellingham, WA