The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the U.S. Navy to reroute a creek and clean up a decades-old dump in Kitsap County.
The EPA says contamination from the Gorst Creek Landfill is posing risks to public health and salmon habitat.
The dump covers nearly 6 acres in a deep ravine near Highway 3. It was created in the 1960s by channeling Gorst Creek through a 24-inch culvert and dumping trash on top of it. The culvert has now collapsed several times under the weight of the landfill, blocking fish passage. The Suquamish Tribe says it’s also polluting habitat used by coho and chinook from its nearby hatchery.
And there’s concern flooding caused by the landfill might impact the highway.
The EPA says a substantial amount of the waste there is hazardous and was put there by the Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard. But it also holds garbage from local residents. Toxics found include copper, lead and PCBs.
The EPA order outlines a plan to reroute the creek and stabilize the landfill, at an estimated cost of $5 to 7 million.
The Navy has 11 days to respond. In a statement, a Navy spokeswoman told the Kitsap Sun it is reviewing the order and works to address the risk posed by its environmental liabilities.