New chapter in Duwamish Superfund cleanup

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a long-awaited proposed cleanup plan for the East Waterway in Seattle.

EPA photo

It runs along the east side of Harbor Island, at the mouth of the Lower Duwamish River, which empties into Elliot Bay and Puget Sound.

A 60-day public comment period on the plan begins today.

EPA’s primary objective is to reduce contaminant concentrations in the sediment to levels that are protective of human health and the environment.

Also, EPA’s long-term vision for the East Waterway is to obtain the lowest contaminant levels possible in sediments to reduce contaminant concentrations in fish tissue so the Washington State Department of Health could minimize reliance on fish consumption advisories.

This long-term vision also includes achieving sediment polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) concentrations equivalent to the concentrations measured in the non-urban background for Puget Sound.

Achieving this will rely both on an effective cleanup of the EW OU and robust source control efforts throughout the Green/Duwamish River watershed using a range of federal, state, and local regulatory authorities, said EPA.