11/13/09  With the recent controversy over dioxins at various sites near the bay, Humboldt Baykeeper is highlighting the near completion of what it deems a complete and responsible cleanup: The former Simpson plywood mill on Del Norte Street.

Dave McEntee, vice president of operational services and external affairs for Simpson Timber Co., said the main part of the cleanup plan should be complete within two to four weeks.

”We may have to come back in spring for additional planted fore restoration,” McEntee said. “The heavy lifting -- the reconstruction -- will be done.”

The cleanup project at the former flea market site, located behind Costco at the southern end of Eureka, began in February 2008 as a part of a 2006 settlement with Baykeeper and the Californians for Alternatives to Toxics. It calls for the removal of contaminated sediment as well as restoring the area to a functioning wetland and installing a network of groundwater-monitoring wells to ensure that residual subsurface contamination doesn't leave the site.

Humboldt Baykeeper Executive Director Pete Nichols said the cleanup is a good opportunity for the community to see a good cleanup project.

”People can just go down to the bay and see what kind of work needs to be done,” Nichols said. Baykeeper worked with Simpson Timber Co. to design the cleanup plan, which Nichols said is an example of what full site characterization, or testing, can accomplish.

”We think it's a good clean up. We think it's been characterized well and we think it will protect the wetlands and that's what it's all about,” he said.

Miles Slattery, a project manager for Eureka, said the firm hired by Simpson to perform the cleanup, AMEC Geomatrics, has been very consistent with Eureka's standards.

”(AMEC Geomatrics) did a really good job to make sure that they did that job properly and they did a really good job to make sure they were within our regulations,” Slattery said.

McEntee said the company is eager to complete the project, which goes well with the city's efforts to clean the PALCO marsh. He said often agencies don't get the chance to see the combined efforts to clean a watershed.

”It's great to see the downstream and the upstream come together,” he said. “We're excited about getting it wrapped up here in a couple weeks.”

Donna Tam can be reached at 441-0532 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..