This photo was taken from one of the top concrete thrust blocks that serves as a junction where there is a change of slope between segments of the penstock tube.  The view follows the gray penstock down a narrow swath cut through the forest.  The hillslope is steep at the top and gradually lessens toward the bottom of the penstock.  Fire scars and dead trees can be seen in the adjacent forest.

CERCLA Response Action - Newhalem Penstock EE/CA

North Cascades National Park Service Complex » CERCLA Response Action - Newhalem Penstock EE/CA » Document List

ENGINEERING EVALUATION AND COST ANALYSIS REPORT and UPDATED ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD for THE NEWHALEM PENSTOCK SITE
ROSS LAKE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA

A formal comment period on the Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis report as well as the Administrative Record for the Newhalem Penstock Site begins January 10 through February 9, 2023. Please choose the "Open for Comment" link on the left side of the webpage for more information and to comment on the report.

This contaminated site is located in Ross Lake National Recreation Area across the Skagit River from the town of Newhalem in Whatcom County. The penstock is the piping that diverts water from Newhalem Creek to the turbine in the Newhalem Creek Powerhouse, located at the end of the Trail of Cedars. Soils next to the penstock were contaminated primarily with lead, likely from lead paint, and from the creosote-treated wooden saddles that supported the pipe since the 1920s. Contaminated soils were removed in 2016-2017 after a wildfire burned across the site in 2015. In addition, the creosote-treated wooden saddles were replaced with concrete at that time.

The report open for review characterizes the nature and extent of contamination at the site and evaluates if further action is needed to protect human health and welfare and the environment from risks associated with contamination. No action is proposed because sampling, analysis, and risk assessment shows that not enough contaminants remain to jeopardize human or environmental health. The public is welcome to review and provide substantive comment on the detailed analysis and proposed action in the report.

This work has been conducted in cooperation with Seattle City Light with the NPS as the lead agency under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP).

Contact Information

Rob Burrows
(360) 854-7313