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News / Clark County News

Ridgefield, Ecology reach legal settlement over Park Laundry

City will purchase, clean up solvent-contaminated site

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: August 11, 2023, 6:02am

The Washington Department of Ecology and the city of Ridgefield are entering a legal settlement requiring the city to purchase a contaminated parcel and lead its cleanup efforts.

Park Laundry operated at the corner of North Main Avenue and Simons Street between about 1965 and 1977. Cleaning solvents were released into the environment, where microbes changed them into hazardous chemicals known as volatile chlorinated solvents, according to Ecology.

The former laundry building was eventually demolished, and the parcels to its north and south became parking lots. However, portions of the former building site and north parcel still contain concentrations of volatile chlorinated solvents in soil and groundwater.

Ecology’s draft cleanup plan proposes soil excavation and groundwater treatment to reduce contaminants, which the city of Ridgefield is responsible for, as well as outlines post-cleanup monitoring procedures. Ridgefield will return the site to its original grade and cover the surface with gravel or asphalt.

The city will file an environmental covenant with Clark County, which may limit land use and outline future development requirements. Ecology will assess the site’s condition every five years when a covenant is in place.

Ecology invites the public to comment on its consent decree, which identifies Ridgefield’s cleanup responsibilities, as well as a draft cleanup action plan, Environmental Policy Act Determination of Non-Significance and public participation plan. All documents are available online at https://apps.ecology.wa.gov/cleanupsearch/site/4099, and printed copies can be found at Ridgefield Community Library, 210 N. Main Ave.

Comments are due by Sept. 11 through an online portal, tcp.ecology.commentinput.com/?id=Cu76ZPRQi, or by email to cam.penner-ash@ecy.wa.gov. Submissions can also be sent via U.S. Postal Service mail to Cam Penner-Ash at Washington State Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

Columbian staff writer