Cleanup agreement aids larger Duwamish effort

The City of Seattle, King County and the Boeing Company have signed an agreement with the Department of Ecology (Ecology) to investigate and propose solutions for soil, stormwater, and groundwater contamination in the North Boeing Field/Georgetown Steam Plant area of south Seattle. A public review and comment period on the agreement runs through Sep. 26, 2008. Ecology will host a public meeting on the proposed site investigation on Sep. 18, 2008...

BELLEVUE, WA -- The City of Seattle, King County and the Boeing Company have signed an agreement with the Department of Ecology (Ecology) to investigate and propose solutions for soil, stormwater, and groundwater contamination in the North Boeing Field/Georgetown Steam Plant area of south Seattle.

A public review and comment period on the agreement runs through Sep. 26, 2008. Ecology will host a public meeting on the proposed site investigation on Sep. 18, 2008, at the South Seattle Community College Duwamish Campus at 6737 Corson Ave. S. An open house will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a presentation at 6:30 p.m. Representatives of Ecology, the city, county, Boeing and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be available to answer questions.

The effort will pave the way for a cleanup -- planned by the EPA -- of contaminated sediment at the bottom of Slip 4, a nearby inlet of the Duwamish Waterway. A cleanup in the 137-acre North Boeing Field/Georgetown Steam Plant area will help prevent re-contamination of the inlet. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other pollutants have been found in storm drains that empty to Slip 4 from city, county and Boeing property in the study area.

Ecology will conduct an investigation and work with the three property owners, who will pay the estimated $2.5 million cost of the study and analysis. The area to be studied includes northern portions of King County International Airport (Boeing Field), property owned by King County and currently leased by Boeing to the west, and the city-owned Georgetown Steam Plant site to the north.

The three parties have conducted several cleanup and storm-drain improvement projects over the past 25 years, all aimed at cleaning up soil and groundwater contamination from past industrial activities. Nevertheless, PCBs and other contaminants continue to appear in storm drain sediments.

"Before cleaning Slip 4, we must find how to prevent its re-contamination," said Jim Pendowski, who leads Ecology's toxic cleanup program. "The agreement by Seattle, King County and Boeing to undertake a single, unified investigation makes sense, given the area's complex contamination problems. This approach may serve as an effective model for other challenging parts of the Lower Duwamish."

An Agreed Order between Ecology and the city, county and Boeing -- along with related documents -- can be viewed at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/sites/lower_duwamish/sites/nBoeingGeorgeTnStmPlant/nBoeingGeorgetown.htm

For more background on the north Boeing Field cleanup, please see Ecology's fact sheet online at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/0809064.pdf

A five-mile reach of the river -- upstream of Harbor Island -- is the federal Lower Duwamish Superfund cleanup site, jointly administered by the EPA and Ecology. Slip 4 is part of that larger sediment cleanup effort.

The Duwamish flows to Puget Sound. Cleanup of the waterway is a significant part of Ecology's effort to reduce and prevent toxic threats to the environment and to support the Governor's Puget Sound Initiative -- a cooperative effort among state, local, federal and tribal governments, businesses and organizations to protect and restore Washington's inland marine waters.

Also see:
-- "Response operations winding down at site of Thea Foss diesel fuel spill"
-- "Impending Western Washington rain will test stormwater controls"
-- "Goodrich settles violations at Spokane plant with pollution-prevention upgrades"
-- "Ecology, Tacoma Fire Dept. and U.S. Coast Guard responding to diesel fuel spill in Thea Foss waterway"
-- "Updated Yakima County shoreline master program available for review"
-- "Updated Douglas County shoreline master program available for review"
-- "Ecology seeks public comment on draft Lake Whatcom study"

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