The Washington State Department
of has approved plans by the Port of Seattle
to refurbish Pier 90 to accommodate a temporary cruise ship terminal. Plans by the Port of Seattle to refurbish Pier 90 to accommodate a temporary cruise-ship terminal will actually be better for the environment, according to the Department of Ecology
Ecology's authorization certifies that the Port's plans meet federal and state requirements for protecting shore areas and water quality, and it enables the Port to begin construction this summer so that cruise ships may begin docking at the facility next spring.
The project will benefit the environment by replacing Pier 90's deteriorating, creosote-treated wood piles with a smaller number of concrete piles. The old-style wood piles leach toxic creosote into the water. Replacing them with concrete supports will eliminate that source of contamination and provide more light for fish.
Ecology approved the Port's application in just four weeks so that work could begin quickly and be finished by April 2003.
"We recognize the importance of the cruise industry on the state's economy, and this project will have the added bonus of improving water quality in Elliot Bay," said Ecology Director Tom Fitzsimmons. "We appreciated the Port's efforts to provide us all the information we needed to review and approve the application without delay."
Ecology's certification includes conditions that will protect water quality during construction and also incorporates permits from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the city of Seattle, which set terms for protecting habitats and shorelines.