Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Public Meeting Tomorrow About Radioactive Contamination in Magnuson Park

A Blog reader sent us this information about tomorrow's meeting:

Magnuson Park was found to contain radioactive contamination in the soils around, under parking lots, and the building attached to, the hangar housing Arena Sports and the Magnuson Park Athletic Club. There is also contamination in and around Building 2, which had been the indoor soccer facility prior to Arena Sports moving. 

The Navy and Washington Department of Ecology are holding an open house, along with 46th District State Representative Gerry Pollet and Heart of America Northwest,  to present information, receive comment and answer questions about the clean-up of low-level radiological contamination set to begin this summer, at Magnuson, from 5-8pm in the in the Mountaineers Building 7700 Sand Point Way NE.

Acquired by the Navy in 1920, the former Naval Station Puget Sound repaired and maintained aircraft using  radioluminescent (glow-in-the-dark) paint to repair and touch up dials, markers, and gauges for aircraft, in buildings 2 and 27. 

Through the course of planning facility renovations in 2009, the City of Seattle recovered historical building drawings that identified facilities where operations using radioactive materials may have been used in buildings 2 and 27, and conducted a radiological screening that confirmed the presence of radiological contamination. 
The areas with low-level radiological contamination are not accessible by the public, are secured to prevent unauthorized access and are monitored by a state licensed radiological contractor who performs weekly security inspections and monthly radiation surveys.
The clean-up,  known as a Time Critical Removal Action (TCRA), includes portions of the second floor of building 2, and demolition of the south shed of building 27. Contaminated soils, piping, and catch basins will also be remediated. 
The Navy posts information about this project here

Heart of America Northwest wrote in their latest newsletter:

Magnuson Park has a contamination problem which hasn't been disclosed to the public for the past four years.  We are very disturbed about the lax cleanup proposed by the Navy - which would leave radioactive contamination in Park soils and buildings at levels 80 to 240 times the acceptable cancer risk for cleanup under our State cleanup law.

The contamination was discovered in 2009 and 2010. However, the Navy, Seattle Parks and WA Dept. of Health agreed amongst themselves not to put up signs which would warn the public that the areas they were fencing off had any contamination problems, or that the building attached to Building 27 (Arena Sports, indoor soccer and the athletic club) had radioactive contamination.

Contamination above safe levels includes radioactive Radium, Strontium and Cesium, in addition to pesticides and lead. The radioactive contamination stems from Navy use of radium paint for dials when the Park was Sand Point Naval Air Station. 

Earlier this year, the Navy expected to begin its cleanup without any public review and comment on its cleanup plans. The Navy's materials include misleading statements implying that the only radioactive contamination is Alpha radiation, which can be stopped by paper or a layer of dirt (although it is highly dangerous if ingested or in contact with skin).

However, radioactive Strontium 90, Cesium and forms of Radium which give off Gamma radiation, which can penetrate walls or soil, are also present.

From reviewing the cleanup plan, we are very concerned that the Navy's plan would leave radioactive contamination at levels 80 to 240 times the acceptable cancer risk allowed for children at hazardous waste cleanup sites under Washington's Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The Navy's plan - which would allow future exposures to 15 millirem of radiation per year from Radium and Strontium - does not even reference our state cleanup standards!

At the meeting or in emailed comments, join us in urging:
  1. Cleanup to meet our state's stricter cancer risk cleanup standards to reduce exposures tenfold and increase cleanup;
  2. Investigation of whether there is contamination of the sediments in Lake Washington around the storm sewer outfalls and along the drain lines;
  3. Not trucking wastes on detour routes, or when there ar backups, during Sand Point Way NE construction;
  4. Public input into development of a Public Participation Plan by Washington's Department of Ecology (including notice and signage about the contamination); and,
  5. Ecology taking regulatory authority over the cleanup.
You can send comments or questions to: ching-pi@ecy.wa.gov.  For more information, go to Ecology's website for project information.


LJansen said...

Thanks! This is really very scary.

Day said...

Who has mentioned the thousands of sailors and Marines who called Sandpoint their little home away from home ? Speaking for the Marines stationed there, I wonder how much of that hot dirt we sucked in doing a few thousand push-ups in the dirt there ? I await the rush to look out for all those guys, not holding my breath.