Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Life Of A Landfill: Bremerton's Decades-Long Dumping Ground Gets a Clean Start

Courtesy EPA Gorst Creek Removal
Before and after the Gorst Creek Landfill cleanup

This segment originally aired March 4, 2017.  

Most abandoned landfills do not have a happy ending. Kitsap County alone has dozens of them, sitting around and festering in the ground.

But one place, called the Gorst Creek Landfill, is finally getting cleaned up, thanks to some very dedicated peninsula residents and $27 million from the Navy.

The landfill was where cities and the Navy shipyard dumped whatever they wanted to get rid of since the 1940s, including rebar, medical waste, concrete, broken plastic toys and even bowling balls. It was built on top of a creek upstream from salmon habitat, Bremerton’s drinking water, and Puget Sound.

Even more menacing than all that contaminated waste — a massive lake of water dammed by the landfill that swelled even larger when it rained, threatening a vital highway leading to Bremerton.

Sound Effect contributor Anna Boiko-Weyrauch paid a visit to the giant pile of junk and brings us this story told from the perspective of three people passionate about the cleanup: Janet Brower and Grant Holdcroft of Kitsap County Public Health District and Jeffry Rodin of the Environmental Protection Agency.