Makah Reservation Warmhouse Beach Dump Site | Region 10 | US EPA

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Makah Reservation Warmhouse Beach Dump Site

Neah Bay, Washington


Rebecca Chu (
EPA Project Manager
206-553-1774 or

Debra Sherbina (
EPA Community Involvement
206-553-0247 or

Patricia Barros (
Makah Tribe Project Lead
Makah Tribe Exit EPA disclaimer

Location map of Warmhouse Beach Dump site.

Warmhouse Beach Dump Superfund Site, Makah Reservation, Neah Bay, WA

Location map of Warmhouse Beach Dump site.

Warmhouse Beach, down the bluff from dump site, is an important natural and cultural resource to the Makah Tribe

Final Community Involvement Plan Available

The final Community Involvement Plan for the Warmhouse Beach Dump Superfund site is now available.

EPA's contractor, Triangle Associates, was tasked with developing the plan based on interviews with tribal and other community members. The plan identifies the community's concerns and interests in the cleanup, and records the most effective ways to distribute information and get input about ongoing cleanup studies and activities.

The final plan reflects comments from the community, the Makah Tribal Council, the EPA, and the Agency for Toxics Substances and Diseases Registry.

Site Background

The Warmhouse Beach Dump Superfund Site is within the Makah Indian Reservation. It is located about three miles northwest of Neah Bay, the northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula, in Clallam County, WA. It is an inactive dump used by the Makah Air Force Station, Indian Health Services, U.S. Coast Guard, the Makah Tribe and tribal members, other local and non-local residents, and other entities such as the Cape Flattery School District.

Municipal solid and hazardous wastes were disposed of at the site from the early 1970s until 2012. In 2012, the Makah Tribe began operating a solid waste transfer station on the reservation. The former dump is about 7 acres in size.

EPA's Involvement at the Site

The Makah Tribe referred the Warmhouse Beach Dump to the EPA for Superfund cleanup due to concerns about hazardous substances leaching from the dump. The Tribe has been monitoring surface water, sediment, and groundwater around the dump since 2001.

EPA completed a Final Preliminary Site Assessment of the dump in 2010, and a Hazard Ranking Systems Score was calculated in 2012. Based, in part, on this information, the EPA added the Warmhouse Beach Dump Site to the Superfund National Priorities list in December 2013.


The unlined and uncovered waste at the Warmhouse Beach Dump drains to two streams (West and East Creeks). East Creek discharges to East Beach. West Creek discharges to Warmhouse Beach, an important cultural and natural resource for the Makah Tribe. The beach has been used as a summer fishing camp and for subsistence harvest of shellfish, seaweed and berries. Warmhouse Beach is also used for camping, surfing, and other recreational activities. Both of these beaches are within the Olympic National Marine Sanctuary, which provides habitat for 29 species of marine mammals and 90 species of marine birds.

Household wastes and hazardous materials, including batteries, used motor oil, tires, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and asbestos have been disposed of at the site. Elevated levels of metals, 1,2 dichloroethane and perchlorate have been found within surface waters. PCBs and perchlorate have been detected in soils and sediments in creeks that drain from the dump. Sediment, mussels, and animals that live in the sediments at East Beach and West Beach may also have been impacted by releases from the dump.

What is the current site status?

EPA is at the early stage of the Superfund cleanup process, called the "Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study" or "RI/FS." During this stage, we consolidate data previously collected from the site, determine if there are any data gaps, and collect any missing data.

During the Remedial Investigation, the EPA develops human health and ecological risk assessments. These studies determine if people, animals, and plants are exposed to site-related contamination above the EPA’s acceptable risk level.

Next, during the "Feasibility Study," the EPA will study a number of cleanup alternatives. After evaluating and comparing these alternatives, we will propose a preferred cleanup approach to address contamination at the site, described in a "Proposed Plan." We will hold a formal public comment period and meeting to invite public comments on our proposed cleanup plan, and consider all comments received.

Finally, we will issue a "Record of Decision," which will select and describe the final cleanup decision. The Record of Decision will include responses to public comments, and be available to the public.

What’s being done to protect human health and the environment?

Access to the site is currently restricted by a locked gate, and signs have been placed to discourage community access to the dump. As part of the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (see "What is the current site status?" above), the EPA is sampling surface water, sediment, soils, and groundwater in and around the site and will communicate results to the Makah Tribal Council and community. The agency is coordinating with the Tribe on sampling, and anticipates completing data collection by spring 2017.

Community Engagement: Staying Informed and Involved

Community participation is an important part of a Superfund cleanup. We want to hear from you! We invite your input and ideas throughout the process, and will work with the Tribe’s Project Lead and Tribal Council to schedule community dinner presentations, public informational meetings, workshops, open houses, exhibits at the annual Makah Days, and other opportunities. The critical opportunity to comment will be held at the Proposed Plan stage. Your comments can help shape the cleanup plan for the Warmhouse Beach Dump site. At that time, the EPA will hold a formal public comment period and public meeting to receive comments on our preferred cleanup alternative for the site.

Community Involvement as Conflict Prevention

Throughout this project, the EPA’s goal is to work collaboratively and transparently, so that final cleanup decisions are understood. The Warmhouse Beach Dump project has been selected as one of five national pilot projects for an EPA Headquarters initiative called "Community Involvement as Conflict Prevention." Triangle Associates was selected as the contractor, and is tasked with developing the Community Involvement Plan, along with other community engagement and facilitation activities.


You can find hard copies of site documents at:

  • Makah Tribal Center
    100 Resort Drive
    Neah Bay, WA 98357
    Attn: Patricia Barros, 360-645-3278

Some site documents are also available below:

Technical Documents

Community Engagement Documents

Superfund Milestones

Timeline showing milestones in EPA's Superfund cleanup process.

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