NPL Site Narrative for Makah Reservation Warmhouse Beach Dump
MAKAH RESERVATION WARMHOUSE BEACH DUMP
Neah Bay, Washington
The Makah Reservation Warmhouse Beach Dump is located approximately 3 miles northwest of Neah Bay on a ridge overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is at the head of two unnamed creeks, and drainage is to the west and east via these creeks. West Creek discharges to Warmhouse Beach and East Creek discharges to East Beach.
The Warmhouse Beach Dump is an open dump which was in use from the early 1970s through October 2012. The dump reportedly was used by the Makah Air Force Station on the reservation to dispose of municipal solid and hazardous wastes. Following the closure of the Air Force Station in the late 1980s, the dump continued to be used by tribal members and non members for the disposal of municipal solid wastes. Access to the dump was closed as of November 1, 2012.
The active area of the dump is about 7 acres and the waste deposit is up to 40 feet in depth. As of the end of 2003, waste volumes were estimated to be 55,000 to 65,000 cubic yards. Soils at the dump are contaminated with polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, petroleum hydrocarbons, metals, dioxins and perchlorate. Surface water in creeks contains elevated concentrations of perchlorate, lead, cadmium, manganese, copper and zinc. Sediments in the creeks contain elevated concentrations of benzo(a)pyrene, perchlorate, cadmium, copper, lead, manganese, zinc and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Mussels at the beaches contain elevated concentrations of lead.
Potential Impacts on Surrounding Community/Environment:
West Creek is used by the Makah Tribe for ceremonial purposes. Warmhouse Beach is an important natural and cultural resource for the tribe. In the past it has been used as a traditional summer fishing camp where families have spent extended periods of time living and harvesting a wide variety of marine resources available at the beach. Tribal subsistence harvest for sea urchins, mussels and steamer clams is documented to occur on both Warmhouse Beach and East Beach. Warmhouse Beach is also used for camping, surfing and other recreational activities.
The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Flattery Rocks National Wildlife Refuge, and several federal and state listed threatened and endangered species habitats are within the site's influence, including the federal-listed threatened marbled murrelet and the steller sea lion.
Response Activities (to date):
No response activities have been conducted at the site.
Need for NPL Listing:
The Makah Tribe referred the site to the EPA due to concerns about harmful hazardous substances leaching from the dump to traditionally significant shell fishing beaches and surface waters within the reservation and the tribes' treaty-protected usual and accustomed fishing grounds. Other cleanup alternatives were evaluated, but are not viable. The EPA received a letter of support for placing this site on the NPL from the Makah Tribe, which considers cleanup of the dump its highest environmental priority.
[The description of the site (release) is based on information available at the time the site was evaluated with the HRS. The description may change as additional information is gathered on the sources and extent of contamination. See 56 FR 5600, February 11, 1991, or subsequent FR notices.]
For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.