Hansville toxins cleanup rescheduled for fall

HANSVILLE — The toxins cleanup project that threatened to disrupt downtown Hansville during its summer season is now being targeted for September.

The move was announced at a public hearing Thursday in Hansville.

“That makes all the difference in the world,” said Whit McLeod, owner of the Hansville Grocery and Provisions Company, where the cleanup work would center. “Now they can stay all through the winter, I could use the business.”

The Department of Ecology’s proposed project would excavate soil and groundwater contaminated by fuel from a former service station near the Hansville store property. The $1.1 million project would take several months and disrupt traffic on Twin Spits Road and access to the store. The project is contingent on funding, so there’s still a chance it won’t happen at all.

The Department of Ecology has received about $3 million in federal stimulus money, but the Hansville store cleanup is competing with eight other projects in the state for a slice of funding.

Originally the work was planned to start in early summer, which meant construction would disrupt the town during its busy visitor season. The Department of Ecology decided to push the date back to early September, after hearing the schedule could hurt the store and town.

“I’ve heard loud and clear that the store is very important to this community,” said Russ Olsen, who is leading Ecology’s project.

By starting the project in September, Ecology runs the risk of confronting wet fall weather.

“We really pushed hard on the schedule,” said North Kitsap County Commissioner Steve Bauer, who helped lobby for the new start date. “We need to be prepared for the fact that it may take a little longer and cost a little more.”

Ecology will accept public comments through Monday. Once the department decides the project is acceptable for the town it will begin securing access rights from the property owners at the site. Olsen said there is no set date for when a funding decision will be made.

“We’re going to be doing everything in our power to make sure this is ready to go,” he said.

A fuel station operated on the General Store property from 1934 until 1988. Ecology signed an agreement with Hansville General Store owners in 1991 to clean up the site after studies on a neighboring property showed gasoline and diesel contamination above legal levels. Two fuel tanks were pulled from the General Store property in 1994.

Ecology decided to unearth the project when stimulus money became available this year.

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