A view of the Seattle’s International District from Columbia Tower. • Photo by Travis Quezon
A view of the Seattle’s International District from Columbia Tower. • Photo by Travis Quezon

The following is an announcement from the Washington Department of Ecology:

The Washington Department of Ecology announced that a two-block site in Seattle’s International District can come off the state’s contaminated sites list because, according to the department, it now meets state standards for protecting public health and the environment.

Buildings erected on the property since the mid-1990’s cleanup now house a health clinic, library branch, businesses, residential units and a community center.

King County Metro Transit cleaned up contaminated soil and groundwater at its former facility at 802 S. Dearborn St. The Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority then purchased and redeveloped the property.

“This is a highly satisfying milestone,” said Ecology’s Maura O’Brien in a statement. O’Brien oversaw the property’s entire cleanup. “Washington’s cleanup process helped transform a contaminated site into one of the keystones of the International District’s overall redevelopment.”

The Department of Ecology is seeking public comment until November 16 on three proposed steps that would formally close the cleanup process for the site:

  • Removing the property from the state’s Hazardous Sites List.
  • Withdrawing a 21-year-old legal agreement between Ecology and Metro called a consent decree, filed in King County Superior Court.
  • Removing a covenant from the property’s deed that required groundwater monitoring.

The facility had been used by Metro and a previous owner for fueling, parking and maintaining buses. Metro bought the site in 1974. The county agency signed the consent decree with Ecology in 1994. Metro demolished buildings on the site, then removed 12,240 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil and operated a system to treat groundwater and deep soil in 1995-96.

The Department of Ecology said it determined that low contaminant levels remaining in the groundwater required long-term monitoring to confirm that it would dissipate through natural processes. By 2012, data from the monitoring showed that this had been achieved.

Information and documents related to Ecology’s proposals may be found at:

  • http://www.ecy.wa.gov/
  • Seattle Public Library, Central Branch, 1000 4th Ave.
  • Seattle Public Library, International District Branch, 713 8th Ave. S.
  • IDEA Space, Bush Asia Center, 409 Maynard Ave. S. Plaza Level, Seattle.
  • Ecology’s Northwest Regional Office, 3190 160th Ave. SE., Bellevue, by appointment: 425-649-7190 or [email protected]

To comment or ask technical questions, please contact Maura O’Brien, Ecology site manager at [email protected]; Department of Ecology, 3190 160th Ave. SE, Bellevue, WA 98008; (425) 649-7249 (for questions only; phone comments cannot be placed into the record.)

The Department of Ecology said it will consider all comments before making a final decision on its proposed actions.

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