In Bellingham, Washington – located in the north-central portion of the state – there’s long been concern about the presence of naturally-occurring asbestos, particular that which makes its way from Sumas Mountain into the waters of Swift Creek. Now, local officials have ordered an environmental impact study to help them figure out how to address the situation.
According to an article in the Bellingham Herald, the plan to contain the asbestos will call for three approaches to controlling the sediment, which experts fear is dangerous to those living near Swift Creek. Approaches will include steel-and-timber structures in Swift Creek canyon, levees to control flooding, and excavated basins to trap sediment and slow flood waters. However, the only long-term solution to the problem would be to stabilize the landslide on Sumas Mountain, which is the source of the asbestos, a known carcinogen that can cause mesothelioma and other cancers.
The study should be complete within the next year, local environmental officials report, and most of the cost will be funded by the Department of Ecology.