Cornwall Avenue Landfill

2017 Aerial view of Site looking east. White-tarped mounds cover soil to be used as part of cleanup activities.
Please click on the photo for a larger view


Ecology held a public comment period (Dec. 18, 2017 - Feb. 22, 2018) and a public meeting (Feb. 15) about an engineering design report for the cleanup of a portion of the Cornwall Avenue Landfill cleanup site on the Bellingham waterfront.  The report provides the preliminary design for isolating contamination and controlling landfill gas. The report was prepared by the Port of Bellingham, the City of Bellingham, and the State Department of Natural Resources, with Ecology oversight.

Ecology received online comments and is in the process of responding now.  We will finalize the engineering design report and post both the comment response summary and finalized report here.

You can view a Fact Sheet that outlines the design details and the Report by following the links below.



  • 2018:  Respond to comments received and finalize the engineering design report
  • 2018-2019:  Prepare construction plans and specifications
  • 2019/2020:  Begin construction

2013 Aerial view of the Cornwall Avenue Landfill site
Please click on the photo for a larger view


The Cornwall Avenue Landfill cleanup site is located on the Bellingham waterfront between Boulevard Park and the former Georgia Pacific pulp mill, and is most recognizable today for the large mounds covered with white plastic. It's at the south end of Cornwall Avenue. About 13 acres of the site are on land, and about 3.5 acres are in water. Property within the site is owned by the City of Bellingham, Port of Bellingham, and State Department of Natural Resources.

  • 1888-1946: The site was used for sawmill operations, including log storage and wood disposal.
  • 1954-1965: The site was used as a municipal waste landfill.
  • 1965: Closure of the landfill; the site was covered with a layer of soil.
  • 1971 to 2005: The site was used for log storage and warehousing operations.
  • 2011: An interim cleanup action was conducted with Ecology oversight.
  • 2013:  Completed a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) - this document identifies the nature, extent and magnitude of contamination and how people, plants and animals may be exposed.  It also assembles and evaluates cleanup options and identifies a preferred option.
  • 2014:  Finalized a Cleanup Action Plan.  Based on the information in the RI/FS, this document describes Ecology's selected cleanup action for the upland and shoreline/shallow-water portions of the site.  A future cleanup plan will address the deep in-water portion of the site.
  • 2015:  Field investigations completed to support design of Ecology's selected cleanup action. Field investigations completed to support design of Ecology's selected cleanup action.

Environmental investigations
The site remedial investigation found an estimated 295,000 cubic yards of municipal waste and 94,000 cubic yards of wood waste. Some of the contamination associated with this waste includes:

  • Groundwater contamination:  tannins and lignins associated with wood waste breakdown products; elevated nitrogen compounds like ammonia; elevated dissolved metals like manganese; and volatile organics like benzene in the ground water.
  • Sediment contamination:  phthalates, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), phenols, and diesel and oil-range petroleum hydrocarbons in the sediment.
  • Contamination from neighboring sites:  contamination from two neighboring cleanup sites overlaps with contamination at the Cornwall site. Petroleum hydrocarbons, pentachlorophenol, carcinogenic PAHs, and other contaminants associated with former wood treating operations at the adjacent R.G. Haley site are present in the soil, sediment and groundwater. And mercury associated with the Whatcom Waterway site is present in the sediment. 



Map showing site location as Whatcom County, WA SITE INFORMATION


View Electronic Documents

Site Summary Report

Facility Site ID: # 2913

Cleanup Site ID: 220

Bellingham, Whatcom County

Status: Cleanup Started   Get definitions of Status terminology

Mark Adams
Site Manager
(425) 649-7107

Ian Fawley
Public Involvement Coordinator
(360) 255-4382

Lucy McInerney
Project Lead
(425) 649-7272

Document Repositories:

Northwest Regional Office
3190 160th Ave SE
Bellevue, 98008-5452

Ecology Bellingham Field Office
913 Squalicum Way, Unit 101
Bellingham, 98225

Bellingham Public Library
210 Central Ave
Bellingham, 98227