ILWACO — Construction will soon commence on a 6,000-square-foot vessel deconstruction facility in Ilwaco.
Derelict vessels currently lining the Port of Ilwaco’s storage yard are likely to be the first maritime cadavers processed by the new operation. It is planned for 165 Howerton Ave., current location of a boat-storage yard.
The pre-engineered metal building and associated land will use about one acre of the 3.5 acre-boatyard. It will perform vessel deconstruction activities and maintenance while providing sufficient space to receive boats and store equipment. Initial site preparation is anticipated to begin in coming months, with completion slated for 2020.
According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, there are around 150 vessels in the state that are candidates for recycling, and the facility could serve as a beacon for additional boats approaching their final call to port.
“The deconstruction facility isn’t just for derelict vessels,” Port Manager Guy Glenn Jr. said. “My goal is to have it for people to destroy their boats responsibly before they become derelict. It will create opportunities for us as a port.”
The new facility is part of a $3.5 million package of DNR-sponsored projects announced by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz last spring. The investment includes $600,000 for building an enclosed deconstruction facility, $250,000 to replace the port’s stormwater system and $100,000 for paving and re-grading work that will help protect water quality. The project is part of Franz’s “Rural Communities Partnership Initiative,” an effort to help leaders in rural areas with economic development.
An estimated 15 jobs will be created in Ilwaco. West Coast Vessel Recycling will be responsible for boat deconstruction.
Derelict and abandoned vessels have been a major focus for the DNR, which has jurisdiction over much of the state’s thousands of miles of ocean, estuarine, river and lake shoreline. Besides often being ugly, old boats can leach petroleum byproducts and toxic metals into sensitive fresh and saltwater ecosystems. Taking these vessels apart for disposal and recycling requires careful containment of solid, liquid and airborne pollutants.