In the past few weeks, there has been a great deal of community interest in a site known as the “Triangle Property,” located at the intersection of Fletcher Bay Rd. and Lynwood Center Rd. The site is the location of an historical and current sand mining operation, and activities at this location are subject to regulation from several agencies, including the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), State Department of Ecology (DOE), State Department of Health (to some extent) and the City of Bainbridge Island.
Based on concerns raised by Bainbridge residents, and after several weeks of fact-finding and research, the City has identified multiple, specific concerns related to DNR’s enforcement of project conditions for the DNR mining and reclamation permit, and DOE’s regulation of the DOE Sand and Gravel General Permit.
On Thursday, Feb. 6, City Manager Morgan Smith sent letters to DNR and DOE seeking specific actions from these agencies related to regulation of this site. Click here to read the letter to DNR. Click here to read the letter to DOE.
In the case of DNR, the City is requesting the following actions to help to ensure protection of the City’s designated critical aquifer recharge area:
- That DNR issues a revised State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) determination that addresses current activities and conditions on the site. Supporting documentation should include, at a minimum, a revised or amended SEPA checklist describing adverse environmental impacts that may result from the larger site activity area and any updated reports as needed to mitigate such impacts. Additionally, there needs to be clarity regarding the SEPA determination as to any SEPA conditions that refer to “recommendations” as opposed to requirements to make clear what specifically is required of the applicant.
- That DNR requires the applicant to submit a Clean Soils Report to document the source of imported fill materials. It is the City’s understanding that DNR has requested such a report, and the applicant has offered to supplement the report with onsite soils testing in accordance with DNR specifications.
- That DNR formally determines whether a violation on the site has occurred related to the depth of mining activities relative to the limits established in the DNR permit.
- That DNR formally determines if any other potential violations of DNR’s permit conditions have been violated on the site based on information provided by the City, concerned neighbors, or otherwise.
In the case of DOE, the City is seeking the following actions:
- That DOE provides to the City copies of the project’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), Spill Control Plan, Sediment Control Plan, and Discharge Monitoring Plan.
- That DOE provides to the City the dates and copies of the reports/materials submitted by the site operator that are required of the operator related to the Discharge Monitoring Plan. It is the City’s understanding that the operator has received a warning letter or letters from DOE in recent months regarding the operator’s failure to provide to DOE required Discharge Monitoring Report(s) and possibly other reporting.
- That DOE addresses what appears to be incorrect information in the permit application and possibly other associated documents, including that the work being performed is not located within a sole source aquifer, and not within a wellhead protection area.
Earlier this week, the site operator, Liden Land Development and Excavation, Inc., contacted the City and indicated their intent to complete soils testing at the site in order to clarify the condition of fill that has been placed on the property. The City requested that any testing be performed to DNR standards, and DNR has provided the operator with those requirements. The result of official soils testing, when available, can help clarify to all regulatory agencies and to Island residents whether current conditions indicate areas of concern or if there is a need for additional assessment.
City staff are in close communication with the appropriate points of contact at the State Department of Health, and the staff at the Department of Health have indicated that they will be available to review any results from the site’s soils testing, and any reports from DOE that are provided.
City staff will continue to actively pursue the concerns raised related to the Triangle Property, and will seek a complete response from both DNR and DOE on the set of concerns and requests that the City has presented. It is important to note that, at this time, there is no indication from the regulatory agencies that a direct threat to public health or safety exists related to the activities on this site. To date, many of the concerns expressed relate to reporting and testing. However, important additional information is needed to ensure that appropriate oversight and enforcement is occurring related to the activities at this location, and the City is in the process of obtaining such information.
Kristen Drew, Communications Coordinator