As reported last year on Wallyhood, Seattle Parks and Recreation will be renovating the play area on the east edge of Gas Works Park this year. As part of that work, Puget Sound Energy will be installing “pipes and monitoring wells” as part of the ongoing contamination cleanup effort. This work was determined by the state Dept. of Ecology to have no significant environmental effects, but public comment on this finding is being solicited until March 16.
I suspect that very few readers will have anything to offer on this matter. However, if you’re like me, you’re aware that there is an ongoing contamination issue, but you need a reminder of what exactly that’s all about. Here’s this from the Dept. of Ecology:
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) will be doing maintenance and renovations at the Play Area, Comfort Station, and Entry areas at Gas works Park. SPR will install new play equipment in the children’s play area.
At the same time, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is doing additional studies of the contaminated groundwater. The results will tell us more about where the arsenic is impacting groundwater under the play area. PSE will also install the portion of a system including pipes and monitoring wells to remediate (or cleanup) the contamination in-place (in-situ) that is located in the groundwater under the play area.
PSE is doing the studies now while the Play Area is closed off to the public. It is also important that this is done to prevent additional contamination from reaching Lake Union before the in-water sediment cleanup begins.
Ecology reviewed and approved the installation of the treatment system. Ecology has also prepared a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) determination of non-significance (DNS) for PSE’s studies and installation. The DNS states that there will be no significant adverse impact on the environment from these activities.
There is also some additional information about the arsenic:
Elevated concentrations of arsenic were detected in soil and groundwater samples collected from beneath the Play Area during the 2013 supplemental upland investigation (GeoEngineers, 2013). Information obtained during the first supplemental investigation in 2014 was used to refine the understanding of the nature and extent of subsurface arsenic in this area. Arsenic is a concern for groundwater below the surface of the park. There is no risk to park users of coming into contact with the arsenic.
More information (much more!) and instructions for submitting comments are available from the Department of Ecology website.