Ports seeks additional funding to continue investigation of Budd Inlet


The Port of Olympia is seeking $6.6 million to complete the investigation into Budd Inlet's contamination, according to Environmental Planning and Programs Director Shawn Gilbertson, who spoke to the Port of Olympia Commission on Monday, April 15. 

Five million dollars of the missing funds will be secured through grants and matching funds, while the source of the remainder is yet to be determined.

The director explained that since they are already ahead of their schedule, the cost of continuing the work exceeds what has been budgeted in 2024.

“There was a thought that permitting would take longer and that we might be out in Budd Inlet and sampling later this fall,” the director said.

As previously reported in The JOLT, the port conducted sampling activities on the East Bay of Bud Inlet in January and is now conducting laboratory analysis of the collected sediment samples.

The next step is for the port to proceed with West Bay, but the port would have to secure an additional $2 million to match a Department of Ecology (Ecology) grant, which would finance the next stages of the investigation.

Gilbertson’s presentation noted that the port submitted for the grant in February, which would be the third time the port has sought a grant from Ecology for the cleanup project.

The Port has already used $3 million of its funds and a $2.2 million grant from the Department of Commerce to match the first two Ecology grants. If the port is successful with its third grant application, the entirety of the grants from Ecology would amount to $10.2 million.

Gilbertson noted that should they stall the project, the fieldwork for West Bay would be pushed until the end of 2025 or early 2026 as they could not do fieldwork from summer to fall, considering the area’s fishing windows.

“If we're able to build the funding gap now, it's very likely that it will go ahead on and finish the planning and design and permitting work, which would allow the sampling to occur hopefully in late 2024 or early 2025,” Gilbertson said.

“The other thing is if we continue to steady progress in the investigatory work and spend down our grant funding, it shows that we're worthy of receiving that third remedial action grant,” Gilbertson added.

The total cost of investigating the contamination on Budd Inlet is estimated at $22 million. Even with the Ecology grants and the port’s matching funds, the port would still need to find $1.6 million to finance the investigation completely. Gilbertson said that funding options include the port’s reserves, short-term financing, and the port’s real estate reinvestment fund.

According to their timeline, the port aims to investigate the whole area by 2026. The actual cleanup of Budd Inlet will only begin once the investigation phase has been completed.


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  • MisPeeps

    Please, someone, explain to me how just the investigation and testing for contaminants cost 22 million. It seems like you could do the remediation for 22 million.

    Friday, April 19 Report this

  • Snevets

    I agree @MisPeeps. Where is the transparency of this project?

    Friday, April 19 Report this

  • MrCommonSense

    Just wondering why the companies that polluted Budd inlet aren't paying for a portion of the evaluation? And depending on the test results, who is expected to pay for the clean-up?

    It does seem that $22M is a crazy amount for sampling and testing. There must be more to it than is explained in this article. It would be great if the Jolt could post a copy of the application or other documents detailing the expected expenditures so we can see both how the past funds have been spent, and how the future money will be used.

    Friday, April 19 Report this

  • ElaineLouise

    This clean up of Budd Bay has been going on for years with zero results. When does the clean up begin? I think this is a veiled scam to get money for other uses. My family moved here in 1956 and the pollution problems were there then. Over the years the Port has promised cleanup starting with raw sewage from outlining houses and businesses and then the mills were somewhat cleaned up and promises were made way back when. This so called cleanup has turned into a money pit.

    Friday, April 19 Report this

  • Southsoundguy

    It will clean itself up. Quit wasting money.

    Friday, April 19 Report this

  • ChuckCross

    What is all the clamor about cleaning up Budd Inlet? It appears that Budd Inlet is at the extreme south end of Puget Sound, and thus may not benefit from the cleaning action of the tides. Who will benefit from the Budd Inlet cleanup? Will Budd Inlet become one giant public swimming pool? Are the local fishing interests being forced out of business because of the polluted condition of Budd Inlet? "Cleaning" up Budd Inlet will most likely mean dredging Budd Inlet. Ever wonder what will be done with the dredgings?? Is the Port using the focus of Inlet cleanup to achieve deepening of and access to their Port piers?? As for project transparency and accountability, neither exist. As several responders have noted, this "cleanup effort" has been going on for years -- with little or not progress. Don't worry about cleaning up the Inlet -- simply blow the Capital Lake dam and let the Deschutes reclaim the land.

    Saturday, April 20 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    Except for the last comment by Chuck.

    It seems very little is known by the commenters.

    My suggestion is they wait to comment until they have

    1. Go to Port meetings and ask those questions

    2. Read past articles where it is Well explained and Transparent What the cost of Remeadiation is, right now 150 million.

    Understand that remeadiatuon does NOT remove contaminates but merely Buries them in an underwater coffer. Isolating most from moving thru the bay.

    We should STOP operating a MONEY Pit Logging operation there and send the LShore to Tacoma

    Saturday, April 20 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    The Lack of sufficent Oxygen Levels were depleted by Raw Wood waste from the Port.

    And a lack of Operation of its storm water treatment plant coverup.

    And then Sued for Clean water Act violations in 2018.

    Thanks to The Old ExDir. Gallager, and S. Gibboney

    And Past Incompentent commissioners Dowing and McGregor.

    That is Why we Have a New Commission..

    And Ex Dir.

    Saturday, April 20 Report this

  • YoNeighba

    Hey folks, there's a ton of information about this project on the Port's website: https://portolympia.com/buddinlet. There's even button where you can sign up for updates on Budd Inlet cleanup. It's a BIG project, and that's why it takes both a lot of time, and a lot of money. An early estimate showed that there is enough contaminated sediment in Budd Inlet to fill a 30-story, football field-sized building(!)

    You are right on the money, @MrCommonSense, the Port isn't the only party that's responsible for the contamination. The industries might be gone, but the Port is working on recovering costs from insurance companies. JOLT covered the story in February: https://www.thejoltnews.com/stories/port-seeks-to-mine-old-insurance-policies-to-cover-some-budd-inlet-remediation-costs,14580. There are others, too, who also might be responsible for the contamination.

    The Port has an agreed order with the WA State Dept. of Ecology to investigate the contamination and is leading the effort to get Budd Inlet cleaned up. As a resident, I can't wait for Budd Inlet to be a cleaner, healthier body of water for people who like to kayak, etc. and for the marine life that lives in Budd Inlet. We live in a beautiful part of the world, this is a really important step toward correcting damage that was done to the environment by past industries. I really hope those of you who are concerned about this project will read more about it on the Port's website. Dept of Ecology has a lot of information about the project, too: https://apps.ecology.wa.gov/cleanupsearch/site/2245

    Saturday, April 20 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    Thanks for the community info YoNeighba that is really what is required for change.

    As well Chuckcross is onto the right idea.

    Let the sediment cover up the bay and reclaim what it once really was.

    End of Problem!

    But wait... Waterfront Marinas, Yacht Club, and Businesses don't want a Healthy Bay... it's about Money for them.

    This Marine Terminal is NO longer Viable, hasn't been for a decade and has Many of the same problems as it did 20 yrs ago.

    A Lack of Prior Management drove it into a tailspin.

    It just needs to rid itself of it's outdated type of employment and move into a era of serving and rebuilding the enviroment and trust of it's community.

    Saturday, April 20 Report this

  • Bobwubbena

    So much misinformation being debated. The west and east bay areas are contaminated with both legacy pollutants from the Port Marina and the City of Olympia's historical decisions made, the contaminants from the Deschutes Watershed, and contaminants from the North coming on the tidal flows.

    This is what you can expect from the natural actions in an urban terminal estuary. Past decisions made by our elected officials from the Port, the City of Olympia, the County Commissioners, and the elected officials from the north all contributed, along with the State Legislators that supported the historical projects. And yes, you and your ancestors, that supported the decision process to help support your family's jobs.

    The DES Estuary EIS chose to "assume that the Port/COE would complete this $200million clean up BEFORE their selected project would proceed. So this is really a cost associated with the DES decision for the State to finance the entire Estuary Project---$200 million plus whatever comes next in their plan. Somewhere between $500 million--yes 0.5 billion--plus the marine water cleanup in advance of their selected but poorly designed solution. This is not a Port issue but rather a "historical community issue inherited by all of us" . It is a poorly done EIS by DES in fully explaining the truths and facts of history and options to address. There is a less costly and more environmentally defined future---but not by the DES Team of Consultants with an agenda. Sorry folks you are being misled and wishing a solution that is not practical. Start asking DES about the results from their updated field studies and facts on how to address the future solutions. They are not being truthful about the real cost or the options.

    Sunday, April 21 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    Truth is bobwubbena,

    Your a past marina owner and currently on The Port citizen advisory Commitee so what you say about agendas is murky.

    I fought the Ports past commissioners tooth and nail for transparency.

    These were not decisions made by the public... so in reality out of the publics hands.

    You know the past Legal issues the Port Suffered because of the deception of past EDs and the past ED Ed Galligan and to lesser effect Sam Gibboney.

    But those decisions to LIE about the storm Water Treatment Plant and its inability to function is Well Documented.

    Well Known is the raw wood waste allowed to Suck up Oxygen so that little could live in the bay.

    Stop the misinformation BOB

    The Problem is Buried in the Mud, in Coffers in front of Anthonys.

    The true problem is when the Port Disturbs the Mud ( via dregding for the Ships at the Port that bring NO relief to Stake Holders Aka tax payers.

    Also, removing mud so boats can use those Nifty Marinas like the Yacht Club and 2 or 3 Marinas is NOT A relief to the Tax payers, just to the Marina Owners.

    Its lying BOB to say the Public is at Fault.

    The Public is Aware of these issues and WE are in those public Meetings.

    Don't Lie and Mislead...

    It led to a very expensive Lawsuit in the Past and Won't escape Notice any longer!

    Wednesday, April 24 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    Dredging is the problem.... leave the Bay alone.

    Stop digging in the Mud

    Estuary Only!

    The Marine Terminal Should be retired.


    Wednesday, April 24 Report this