Sarah Weeks and Rob Healy accept the Phoenix Award

Sarah Weeks, Project Manager II and Rob Healy, Senior Project Manager, Remediation with the Phoenix award.

Tacoma, Wash. — In what are considered the Oscars of brownfield remediation, the Port of Tacoma was presented with a Phoenix Award on August 9 for cleaning up and redeveloping a 113-acre site.

In a ceremony at the Brownfields 2023 conference in Detroit, the Port was honored for remediation of a Port-owned property known as Parcel 14, which is now home to a redeveloped wetland, a high-tech regional logistics center, and a future highway interchange.

The Phoenix Award was presented by officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and leaders of the International City/County Management Association. The Port received the award for EPA Region 10, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.

“This project aligns directly with three of the priority areas in the Port’s strategic plan: environmental leadership, economic vitality, and community connections,” said Port of Tacoma Commission President Deanna Keller. “Congratulations to our hard-working Port staff on this well-deserved recognition.”

Parcel 14 is located within the area known as the Tacoma Tideflats. From the 1970s through the early 2000s, it was used as a disposal site for dredge material and for log yard operations and storage. The land was also used as an unauthorized dump site for slag from the former ASARCO smelter north of Tacoma, which infused high concentrations of arsenic in the soils. Decades of urban development also re-routed Wapato Creek into narrow culverts on the property, which blocked fish passage.

The Port began assessment work in 2010 and eventually removed all contaminated soil. Much of the site was remediated to levels more stringent than state and federal standards, and the portion of the property developed for habitat reached levels consistent with natural background conditions. During cleanup, stormwater was managed to prevent any discharge from the site.

The cleanup allowed development of a Prologis regional logistics center with more than 1.3 million square feet of LEED-certified industrial buildings. The completed center created more than 1,800 jobs.

Brownfield remediation also led to the construction of the Lower Wapato Creek habitat site, which the Port developed in partnership with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. This project re-established stream and wetland habitat on approximately 20-acres, moving the creek from a ditched system to a meandering stream and replaced two fish-barrier culverts with a fish-passable full-span bridge.

The third phase of the project creates space for a future highway interchange, including stormwater management facilities. The interchange is part of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s SR167 completion project, which will improve connections to the Port of Tacoma.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor,” said Rob Healy, Senior Manager for remediation at the Port of Tacoma. “I’d like to thank our partners at the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Prologis, and WSDOT for working with us on this important project.”

The Port project team consisted of Dave Meyers as the overall project manager, Stanley Sasser and Rob Healy as cleanup leads, Mark Rettmann as permitting and habitat restoration lead, and Anita Fichthorn as the stormwater lead.