Amendment to Boost Burien Site Cleanup (USA)
An amendment to a legal agreement between the Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the Port of Seattle (Port) will speed cleanup of the Lora Lake Apartments site in Burien.
The amendment provides for preparation of a draft Cleanup Action Plan in 2013. This work is anticipated to allow cleanup to begin in 2014. Ecology seeks public comment on the amended order through Jan. 31, 2013.
The eight-acre property at 15001 Des Moines Memorial Drive housed a barrel-cleaning company in the 1940s and 1950s and an auto-wrecking facility from roughly 1960 to 1981. A 22-building apartment complex was built in 1987. The Port acquired the property in 1998 because part of the property was within the Runway Protection Zone required for the Third Runway at the Port-owned Sea-Tac Airport. Six buildings that were within the runway protection zone were demolished in 2007.
Environmental samples taken in preparation for that demolition showed higher than expected levels of contaminants from activities at the site prior to the development of the apartment complex. The 2009 legal agreement, known as an Agreed Order, lays out the process under which the Port has been conducting an evaluation of the nature and extent of contamination at the site and assessing cleanup options.
Ecology plans to issue the Port’s report on site investigations and Ecology’s draft cleanup action plan for public comment in the summer of 2013.
Stormwater from the apartment complex site enters a storm drain line that flows east, under Des Moines Way, to Lora Lake on airport property. The Port tested the lake bottom’s sediments as part of its investigation. In 1982, before the Port acquired the lake and surrounding area, sediment dredged from the lake bottom was placed on what is now airport land north of the lake.
The amendment to the agreed order authorizes the Port to begin plans for removal of highly contaminated soil and capping of less contaminated soil at the former apartment complex site. The Port also would begin plans to cap the three-acre lake sediment storage area. These cleanup actions would occur in 2014.
Lora Lake would undergo a cleanup action, either dredging or capping, in 2015.
Pollutants associated with the site’s former activities include petroleum products, dioxin, pentachlorophenol, and other contaminants.
The Port demolished remaining structures on the property in 2009 because vacant buildings pose public safety hazards from arson, accidental fires and vandalism. The Port demolished only above-ground structures, and took measures – under Ecology oversight – not to disturb potentially contaminated soil.
Press Release, December 19, 2012