Site Hazard Assessment (SHA) Program
The Site Hazard Assessment (SHA) program uses analytical data,
historical and geographical information to estimate the potential
threat to human health and the environment at suspected and known
contaminated properties (discovered or reported by the generators
or complainants) in Whatcom County. These sites are evaluated
and scored using the Washington Ranking Method (WARM) devised
by the Department of Ecology, in accordance with the Model Toxics
Control Act (MTCA). Sites are scored and compared to others in
the state, and a "rank" of one to five is assigned based on their
risk relative to other contaminated sites. A rank of "1" represents
the highest relative level of concern, and "5" the lowest.
Sites where an evaluation shows either that no release of a
hazardous substance has occurred or that the release or threatened
release does not pose a threat to human health or the environment
will receive a recommendation of no further action (NFA) under
Frequently Asked Questions
What contaminated sites do we have in our county and where
You can see what sites have confirmed contamination and have
been ranked and added to Ecology's Hazardous Sites List by going
to Ecology's web page http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/mtca_gen/hazsites.html,
and searching for sites under Whatcom County, which is in the
Northwest Region. You may also contact us and we will provide
you with a copy of the list.
How can I get information on sites that you have investigated?
You can review our files by visiting the department and submitting
a Request to Inspect Public Records. We will notify you of the
date and time when our records will be available for your review.
How can I avoid getting my property placed on the Hazardous
Before listing your property on the Hazardous Sites List,
a site hazard assessment must be completed and a threat to human
health and/ or the environment must be demonstrated. If your contamination
or release is reported to us prior to Ecology's listing on the
Suspected and Contaminated Hazardous Sites List, we might be able
to suggest cleanup methods and guide your efforts to avoid the
SHA process. Sometimes, a property will be added to the Suspected
and Contaminated Hazardous Sites List (awaiting SHA) due to failure
to conduct cleanup in a timely manner.
I saw my neighbors dump oil onto the ground, next to the
creek, and I think they've been doing this for a long time. Is
there anything you can do?
Yes, call us and request an investigation. We will go to
the site, take some soil and water samples if that seems necessary,
to determine the extent of contamination, if any. Your name and
information you provide will remain confidential.
Whatcom County Health Department
Phone: (360) 676-6724
Ecology Toxics Cleanup Program
Phone: (425) 649-7000
Ecology - Complaints Tracker
Phone: (425) 649-7000
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