San Juan County waterfront landowners: No-cost help now available for creosote-debris removal projects

Creosote-debris removal project in the San Juan Islands. Photo: DNR
Creosote-debris removal project in the San Juan Islands. Photo: DNR

Are you a waterfront landowner in San Juan County? Are your tidelands home to a variety of old, derelict creosote-treated pilings or structures? Would you like to see these relics from the past removed from your property?

If so, you can now get help to remove these toxic structures from your tidelands, thanks to a partnership with FRIENDS of the San Juans and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). And it won’t cost you a thing.

Why remove creosote-treated materials?
Creosote-treated wood was commonly used in marine structures throughout the Salish Sea for more than a century during a period of rapid development and industrial expansion. Like other chemical compounds that were innovations in their time, creosote was broadly used without knowledge of its long-term consequences. It is now known that creosote contains more than 50 carcinogens and is toxic to marine fish and other wildlife.

DNR has been partnering with local groups, governments, and private property owners to remove treated wood located on public and private property throughout the Salish Sea since 2004.

FRIENDS received funding from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to coordinate the local effort in San Juan County, which is part of the statewide DNR Creosote Removal Program. The program and partners have removed more than 13,400 tons of piles, 231,000 square feet of overwater structures, and 2,700 tons of toxic creosote-treated beach debris from the Salish Sea.

For more information about the voluntary, free creosote removal program for San Juan County landowners, contact Tina Whitman (FRIENDS), 360-378-2319 or Lisa Kaufman,  DNR, 360-854-2408.

To learn more about creosote-treated materials, download DNR’s fact sheet “Removing creosote-treated materials from Puget Sound and its beaches.

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