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Port of Olympia to Launch Research Vessel in Budd Inlet to Address Legacy Pollutants and Promote Environmental Restoration

OLYMPIA — The Port of Olympia is set to embark on a significant environmental initiative with the launch of a research vessel in Budd Inlet on January 8, 2024. As required by the Department of Ecology, the primary focus of this venture is to investigate and address harmful legacy pollutants, including dioxins and furans, in the sediment of the Inlet. The rigor with which the Port is undertaking this work signifies its commitment to environmental stewardship and community well-being.

Over the course of the next two months, the research vessel, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a team of experts, will meticulously sample the sediment for later laboratory analysis to identify the extent of the pollutants and develop a comprehensive plan for their removal. This proactive approach aligns with the Port’s vision to rectify environmental mistakes of the past and foster a healthier ecosystem for the future.

“The Port of Olympia recognizes the importance of addressing legacy pollutants in Budd Inlet. We understand our responsibility to the community and the environment,” said Camille St. Onge, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Commission Affairs for the Port of Olympia. “While we are obligated by the Department of Ecology to conduct this investigation, we want to emphasize that it is also an opportunity for us to right the wrongs of the past and contribute to a cleaner, safer environment for generations to come.”

In addition to removing harmful pollutants from the sediment, the Port of Olympia is committed to a comprehensive restoration plan for the shoreline.

“This initiative aims not only to repair environmental damage but also to create a vibrant community space that fosters recreational activities and a sense of connection to the waterfront,” said Shawn Gilbertson, Port of Olympia Director of Environment Programs and Planning.

Furthermore, the Port’s commitment extends to economic development. By undertaking these environmental initiatives, the Port seeks to stimulate economic growth and job opportunities within the community while contributing to the overall well-being of the region. As a result of this project, we have forged a beneficial partnership with The Evergreen State College. This collaboration offers a golden opportunity for their students enrolled in the environmental program to gain invaluable field experience, specifically in the realm of environmental research and restoration efforts.  By fostering this partnership, the Port not only cements its dedication to environmental stewardship but also actively works towards developing the next generation of leaders in this field.

The Port of Olympia encourages community members to stay informed and engaged in the process. Public input and collaboration are integral to the success of these initiatives, and the Port is committed to transparent communication throughout the entire project. View FAQs and learn more about the project by visiting

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