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Work is slated to start next week to clean up a Bellingham-area beach that is oozing petroleum.

Crews are moving equipment and supplies into place near downtown Bellingham this week and plan to start working on the clean-up beginning Monday night, when the tides will be lowest.

Brian Sato, site manager with the Department of Ecology, said, The night tides will be really low, which is a perfect time to get in and do this. The lower the tide goes, the less water there is and the easier and cleaner the work will be.

Contractors will dig out roughly eighty truckloads of petroleum-contaminated soil from a section of beach near the west end of C Street in Bellingham, according to Sato.

Crews will then install a liner in the ground to prevent recontamination, and rebuild the beach with clean material.

The work beginning on January 7 will address only a small portion of a 55-acre Central Waterfront area that is contaminated with petroleum from an old bulk-fuel-storage facility that operated at the location from 1904 to 1987.

Site managers with Ecology and the port first discovered a sheen in February 2012, signaling the more urgent problem.

The project is expected to finish in mid-February.

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