Back when we visited the Duwamish River Festival in South Park last August (here’s our story), we mentioned an informational booth about upcoming Superfund cleanups on the eastern edge of West Seattle. We put our name on a list of interested parties, in hopes that would keep us in the pipeline for getting information to you. A followup flyer (identical to this) arrived in the mail (the EPA sent versions to 8,000 people in West/South Seattle) recently saying the Environmental Protection Agency is “developing a community involvement plan” for those cleanups – one of which is at the site known as Lockheed West Seattle (tons of official EPA info linked from this page). As a followup, an EPA rep called to invite us to come down and answer some questions (apparently we checked the “wouldn’t mind being interviewed” box on something somewhere) – and we did that this morning. Here’s what we learned – and how you can get involved:
The EPA is grouping three Superfund sites for purposes of community interviews to determine what folks know about the cleanups and what they would like to know. One site on the list, Pacific Sound Resources, is done with major work and currently undergoing a “five-year review” – EPA reps Cindy Shuster and Ravi Sanga explained that review is under way at the Jack Block Park area, home of a wood-treatment firm long ago, with creosote contamination on land and undersea all “capped” – either by pavement or by feet of bay-bottom sand.
Of the other two sites, one is on the East Waterway — out of our jurisdiction — but Lockheed West Seattle is an old shipyard site west of the low bridge (map).
The cleanup plan itself is not expected to be done before 2010, and cleanup work is not likely to start before 2012, but the EPA is doing its due diligence now to talk with people about what they know, what they will want to know, how often they would want updates, etc. As you can imagine, we lobbied for more information, rather than less, presented in more ways — many government rules and policies regarding communication with the public were written years if not decades ago, and the media landscape has changed dramatically (the concept of a “neighborhood news website” is nowhere in the codes and handbooks, but there are now hundreds, if not thousands, nationwide) — but not just online; the first we ever heard about the Duwamish cleanup, many years ago, was via a plaque at Seacrest — certainly might be the place for an informational kiosk once these next cleanups get under way.
Most importantly, it’s not too late for you to get involved in the process of helping the EPA develop its “community involvement plan” — contact Shuster at email@example.com or 206-553-1815.