WEDNESDAY: EPA explains another proposed Duwamish River cleanup change

August 24, 2021 10:52 pm
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 |   Environment | West Seattle news

The Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting comment on another Duwamish River cleanup change, and offering an informational session Wednesday night (August 25th) to explain it. This part of the cleanup is known as the Jorgensen Forge Sediment Cleanup, and while it’s not in West Seattle, much of the river runs along the peninsula’s eastern edge, so its health is of local importance.

The pollution is from what the EPA describes as “a steel and aluminum forging and distribution facility” at 8531 East Marginal Way [map], where, the EPA continues, the “riverbanks and sediments next to the facility are contaminated with toxic metals and PCBs that may pose a risk to people’s health and to the environment. The Earle M. Jorgensen company removed some of the contaminated riverbanks and sediments in 2014, but they left some of the pollution in place.” Now the EPA is taking public comment on cleanup alternatives for the contaminated sediments.

The comment period was extended until September 27th by request of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, which is concerned about the change. The DRCC says, “Jorgensen Forge and EPA propose to allow the company to abandon PCBs in the river bottom that it left behind in violation of EPA orders, saving the company millions of dollars. Jorgensen Forge was cleaned up as an Early Action Area because it had some of the river’s highest levels of contamination and posed an immediate threat to people’s health. The company violated EPA’s cleanup order for the site, leaving behind high levels of PCBs and burying them under backfill. The company was fined and a new cleanup order was prepared. Now EPA proposes to allow the company to leave behind much of their mess, allowing them to cheat and run.”

The EPA has a fact sheet here; the DRCC has one with information on how to take action, here. To attend the EPA’s information session Wednesday at 6 pm, register here. The DRCC is having an information session too, on September 6th – email for information on how to participate. You can also comment on the proposed cleanup alternatives without attending either session – is the email address.

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