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Piling Removal and Habitat Restoration

Piling Removal

In 2000, Port facilities included nearly 18,000 creosote-treated pilings. Recognizing the importance of removing these pilings from the aquatic environment, the port established a goal to reduce the number of creosote piling by 90 percent by 2026. At present there are approximately 8,000 remaining.

Creosote-treated pilings supporting marine cargo piers and docks have been replaced with inert steel and concrete pilings, and in many instances fender systems requiring no piling have been installed. This benefits wildlife since it requires less structural pilings and less over-water coverage. In addition, older and unused over-water structures and their creosote pilings and dock materials have been removed.

Creosote-Treated Pilings at Port Maritime Facilities

Creosote pilings removed

Click image above to enlarge


Portfolio LogoThe Port’s habitat restoration program called the PORTfolio,
is focused on “innovation." We are involved in several
research/pilot projects with the University of Washington,
King County, and a Puget Sound Restoration Fund that will explore new ways to improve habitat.  These include the
“Floating Wetland Islands” project and Smith Cove Carbon
Sequestration Pilot Study.

Piling removal habitat restoration zones

Beginning in 1994, the Port worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the 83 acre PSR site, as an element of the Terminal 5 clean-up and redevelopment project, completed in 1998. The cleanup involved:

  • Removal of approximately 3,900 tons of contaminated upland soils
  • Installation of a 1,600 feet-long sub-grade isolation wall and ground-water recovery system

Extraction of approximately  800 creosote-treated pilings:

  • The piling removal was in support of EPA’s placement of a 58 acre sediment cap. The Port is now removing approximately 2,300 pilings between 2017-18 at the north Terminal 5 shoreline.

Habitat restoration

Since 1990, the Port has created, restored or enhanced over 100 acres of fish and wildlife habitat in the Green-Duwamish River Watershed and Puget Sound.

The Port’s Century Agenda Goal for habitat restoration includes the creation of 40 additional acres of fi sh and wildlife habitat in the Green-Duwamish River Watershed and Elliott Bay. We currently have three large projects totaling 34 acres in the design/permitting process.

Previous Terminal 5 habitat restoration and public shoreline access improvements

Wyckoff  and Lockheed industrial facilities, prior to Terminal 5 clean-up and redevelopment 1994-1998. The same location pre- and post- restoration is circled below.
Terminal 5 in 1993Terminal 5 in 2010






1993 ​2010