Washington State Department of Ecology - March 11, 2013


Cleanup report for SemMaterials site in Spokane available for review

SPOKANE –The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is accepting comments on a report that describes contamination and evaluates four cleanup options at the SemMaterials site located in the historic Hillyard neighborhood in northeast Spokane.

Western States Asphalt now operates the plant formerly operated by SemMaterials. The facility receives and stores petroleum products used in manufacturing asphalt and sealants.

Ecology entered into an agreement with BNSF Railway Company, Koch Materials LLC, Marathon Oil Company, and SemMaterials LP to gather information to determine the extent of petroleum-related pollution in the soil and groundwater.

The “remedial investigation” study found total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), naphthalene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soil in several areas at the site. Groundwater monitoring confirms that drinking water is not affected by site-related pollution.

The parties responsible for cleanup prefer an option that focuses on maintaining an existing asphalt cover and building an additional cover in the area where shallow soil contamination was observed.

The property owner, BNSF Railway Company, will be required to restrict how the property is used to prevent contact with any remaining contamination in soil. Groundwater monitoring will continue to ensure drinking water remains protected.

The site sits over a portion of the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer known as the Hillyard Trough. The Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer is designated as a “sole-source” of drinking water for 500,000 people.

TPH is a mixture of many different compounds. Everyone is exposed to TPH from many sources, including gasoline pumps, spilled oil on pavement, and chemicals used at home or work. Some TPH compounds can affect the nervous system, and cause headaches and dizziness.

PAHs are a group of more than 100 different chemicals, including napthalene, that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage, or other organic substances like tobacco or charbroiled meat. Some PAHs are considered to be carcinogens.

Koch Materials discovered and reported the contamination in 1992 during removal of three petroleum storage tanks.

Ecology conducted an assessment of the property in 1993. The property was placed on the state’s Hazardous Sites List due to the level of pollution in the soil and potential for polluting groundwater.

The documents are available at Ecology’s office at 4601 N. Monroe St. in Spokane. Call Kari Johnson at 509-329-3415 for an appointment to see them. They also are available at Spokane Public Library’s Hillyard Branch and online at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=3229.

Please send comments by April 10, 2013, to William J.  Fees, Department of Ecology, 4601 N. Monroe St., Spokane, WA 99205-1295; or to william.fees@ecy.wa.gov.

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Media Contacts:

Brook Beeler, 509-329-3478; cell, 509-290-0855; brook.beeler@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup site page (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=3229)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)