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City and Port of Seattle commit to $33 million cleanup of Terminal 117 on Lower Duwamish Waterway

Release Date: 06/16/2011
Contact Information: Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454, kader.hanady@epa.gov

Agreement with EPA requires removal of sediment from toxic hotspot

(Seattle—June 16, 2011) One of the most polluted areas of the Lower Duwamish Waterway will be cleaned up as a result of a $33 million settlement agreement among the Port of Seattle, City of Seattle and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The agreement requires the port and city to implement EPA’s cleanup decision for the Terminal 117 early action area of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site. The agreement is a major milestone that secures the cleanup of marine sediments next to the terminal, the former industrial facility on terminal property and ten acres of soil in nearby streets and residential areas.

“We now have an enforceable agreement in place to clean up one of the most contaminated sites on the waterway,” said Lori Cohen, Associate Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Cleanup. “The city and port stepped up and joined us in a commitment for a cleaner, safer Duwamish River. This translates into benefits for Puget Sound, where cleaning up contaminated marine sediments is a priority.”

Terminal 117 was designated an early action area of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site because of the high level of nearby contaminated sediment in the waterway due to years of industrial activity.

The Port of Seattle and City of Seattle will conduct the Terminal 117 cleanup with EPA oversight. The port and city have conducted previous cleanup work at the site along with studies of site conditions that EPA used to make its cleanup decision. This agreement outlines the obligations for the full cleanup and launches the cleanup design process, which is scheduled to be complete at the end of 2012. After the design is finalized, the port will initiate a bidding process for contractors to complete the work.

The port purchased Terminal 117 in 2000 following six decades of asphalt product production, particularly roofing shingles, by two small businesses. In the 1970s, the city supplied the owner with inexpensive used fuel oil. Much of this fuel oil came from city’s electrical utility equipment and contained poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a hazardous substance that can be harmful to human health and the environment.

Under the agreement, the port and city will submit specific plans for EPA approval for the remaining sediment removal, upland soil removal and cleanup of residential areas that could re-contaminate nearby sediments. In addition, the area’s temporary stormwater system will be replaced by a permanent stormwater collection and treatment system.

For more information on the agreement or information on the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site, visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/cleanup.nsf/LDW/Terminal+117