Port Of Seattle Must Monitor Stormwater At Lora Lake Site For Pollutants; Dept. Of Ecology Seeking Comments

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The Port of Seattle announced that it will start sampling and testing stormwater from the former Lora Lake Apartment complex in Burien this winter as part of a legal agreement with the Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Ecology is seeking public comment on this plan through Wednesday, Dec. 23rd, and residents interested in reviewing the proposal should click here.

The project, called an “Interim Action,” is part of the work the Port is required to perform to study contamination at the site, which housed a barrel-cleaning company in the 1940s and 50s and an auto-wrecking facility from roughly 1960 to 1981.

A 22-building apartment complex was built in 1987. The Port, which owns Sea-Tac Airport nearby, bought the property in 1998 and demolished six buildings within the airport’s Third Runway protection zone in 2007.

At one time, the 234 Lora Lake Apartments were affordable housing.

The remainder of the buildings were demolished just recently.

Environmental samples taken in preparation for that demolition showed higher than expected levels of contaminants from the pre-apartment complex activities at the site. Pollutants associated with the site’s former activities include petroleum products, dioxin, solvents and other contaminants.

The Port demolished only above-ground structures, and took measures – under Ecology oversight – to not disturb potentially contaminated soil.

Port consultants will collect stormwater samples during rainstorms, with a plan to collect sampls during up to 10 storms. The information will help Ecology determine whether the site requires special or additional stormwater controls or treatment. Polluted runoff – stormwater – is the leading threat to water quality in the state’s urban areas.

As we reported in August, the Port of Seattle wants to develop facilities for airport-compatible activities there, such as air cargo, food service and warehouses, and on other property it owns within Burien’s Northeast Planning Area north of the airport.

But the now-vacant lot is just inside the Burien city limits and several city council members hope this location will anchor economic development in the Northeast Planning Area that will generate additional sales tax and other revenue for the city. Possible land uses include an auto mall and a business park.

City Manager Mike Martin said recently that an interchange at the location, at 15001 Des Moines Memorial Drive, would increase the value of the Lora Lake site for business development.

It is also available for review at the Burien Public Library (400 SW 152nd St., 206-243-3490), as well as the Department of Ecology’s regional office in Bellevue – by appointment (425-649-7190 – 3190 160th Ave. SE).

A fact sheet on Lora Lake Apartments site is available at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/0909175.pdf.

For technical questions or to comment on the plan, please contact David South, Ecology Site Manager, 425-649-7200; e-mail [email protected].

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