RIDGEFIELD, WA – Surprise and concern overtook Stephanie Proudfoot when she learned the soil around her Ridgefield home may have been contaminated by a long-shuttered wood treatment plant.
“I have a small child and baby on the way, and I want to know they’re OK playing in the backyard,” Proudfoot said during a March 10 meeting at the Ridgefield Community Center to discuss high dioxin levels in a residential area of downtown Ridgefield.
The six-block neighborhood lies between Maple Street, Mill Street, Railroad Avenue and North Main Street. It includes about 39 parcels, and about half a dozen of its residents attended the meeting.
Officials found high dioxin levels in soil samples taken on right of ways next to the area’s streets, and they hope to test adjacent yards this Spring. So far, no samples have had enough dioxin to pose immediate health risks, officials at the Tuesday meeting said, but the samples are high enough to warrant further investigation.
“That’s good news,” Department of Ecology Site Manager Craig Rankine said of the low health risk. “But they’re still high enough we need to look at it.”
The contamination is believed to be from the former Pacific Wood Treating facility, which opened on property leased from the Port of Ridgefield in 1964. It operated until the Pacific Wood Treating’s bankruptcy in 1993.