Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site | Region 10 | US EPA

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Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site

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Community Resources (Contacts, fact sheets, meetings, comment opportunities, join our mailing list)


Maps & Photos

Information for contractors and job seekers (SuperJTI Program)

Julie Congdon (congdon.julie@epa.gov)

Contacto en Espaņol:
Michael Ortiz (ortiz.michael@epa.gov)

Community Advisory Group:
Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition Exit EPA Disclaimer

Lead State Agency:
Dept. of Ecology's Lower Duwamish Cleanup Program

map of early action areas

Map of "Early Action" cleanup areas.

key milestones for lower duwamish superfund cleanup

Timeline of key milestones in the Superfund cleanup process (click on image for larger view).

post-decision steps for lower duwamish superfund cleanup

Next steps in the cleanup process following the Record of Decision (click on image for larger view).

Site History: The Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site is a 5 mile stretch of the Duwamish River that flows into Elliott Bay in Seattle, Washington. The waterway is flanked by industrial corridors, as well as the South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods. The site was added to EPA's National Priorities List in 2001.

A century of heavy industrial use has left the waterway contaminated with toxic chemicals from many sources – industries along its banks, stormwater pipes, and runoff from upland activities, streets and roads. Pollution in the river sediments includes polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins/furans, carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (cPAHs), and arsenic. Many of these chemicals stay in the environment for a long time, and have built up to unsafe levels in resident fish and shellfish. Because of contamination, state and local health departments warn against eating crab, shellfish, or bottom-feeding fish from the Lower Duwamish River (salmon are ok because they move quickly through the waterway).

EPA and the Washington Department of Ecology are working to clean up contaminated sediment and control sources of additional contamination in the waterway.

Proposed Plan
  • Public Comments to the Proposed Plan for the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site
    The public comment period for the Lower Duwamish Waterway proposed cleanup plan ran from February 28 to June 13, 2013. EPA received 2,327 public comment submissions. Comments came from individuals, academic institutions, businesses, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and Tribal representatives. EPA is carefully reviewing and considering the comments. In response to public request, EPA is making these comments available for viewing on an FTP (file transfer protocol) site. Agency responses to the comments will be posted later this year. Please contact Julie Congdon, Community Involvement Coordinator, at 206.553.2752 or congdon.julie@epa.gov for information on how to access the comments.
  • Proposed Plan for the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site (PDF) (121 pp, 3.6MB) - February 2013
  • Proposed Plan Footprint Map (PDF) (1 pp, 41MB)
  • Appendix A: Source Control Strategy (PDF) (74 pp, 1.1MB)
  • Appendix B: Environmental Justice Analysis (PDF) (78 pp, 1.6MB)
"Early Action" Cleanup Areas

Early Action cleanup areas are parts of a Superfund site that may become a threat to people or the environment before the long-term cleanup is completed. The following areas within the Lower Duwamish Superfund Site have already begun or completed cleanup activities.

  • Slip 4 - Sediment cleanup project to remove PCB-contaminated sediments from about 4 acres of the waterway near the Boeing Plant 2 site.
  • Terminal 117 - Sediment and upland cleanup project to remove PCB contamination from the site of the former Duwamish Manufacturing and Malarkey Asphalt Company, in the South Park neighborhood.
  • Boeing Plant 2 - Sediment and upland cleanup project at former Boeing airplane manufacturing facility.
  • Jorgensen Forge - Sediment and upland cleanup project at site of several former steel-related industrial operations. This site is jointly managed by EPA and Ecology.
  • Duwamish Diagonal - Sediment cleanup project just upstream from Harbor Island, completed in 2005 by King County's Sediment Management Program.
  • Norfolk CSO - Sediment cleanup project around the Norfolk Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) near the south end of Boeing Field. The site is being managed by King County's Sediment Management Program.
Who Pays for the Cleanup?

EPA's policy is to have the polluters pay for cleaning up pollution they created. Since pollution has been entering the Duwamish River for over 100 years from many different sources, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible for paying for the cleanup.

Lower Duwamish Waterway Group - In the interim, four organizations have stepped forward to pay for the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study: City of Seattle, King County, Port of Seattle, and the Boeing Company, collectively known as the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group

General Notice Letters - General notice letters inform recipients that they are identified as PRPs at Superfund sites, that they may be liable for cleanup costs at the site, and explains the process for negotiating the cleanup with EPA.

Information Collection Requests - To help us learn more about known or suspected releases of contamination, we're continuing to send Superfund Information Collection Requests (also called "CERCLA 104e letters") to current and former property owners near the site.

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