Department of Ecology News Release - October 15, 2014

Community meeting set on cleanup in Magnuson Park
Navy to dismantle its former aircraft instrument workshop

SEATTLE – The agencies working to clean up low-level radiation from two former naval maintenance rooms at Seattle’s Magnuson Park will provide updates and answer questions at a community meeting later this month.

The Washington Department of Ecology will host the meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 21, 2014, at The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, in Seattle.

Cleanup work by contractors for the U.S. Navy has been under way since June 2013. The Navy used the rooms to repaint aircraft cockpit dials with glow-in-the-dark radium paint in the 1940s and 1950s. The Navy owned and operated an air station at what is now Magnuson Park and is responsible for cleanup of all contamination left from its operations.

Park areas open for public use and access have undergone review and testing for contamination. Radiological contamination was found in parts of Buildings 2 and 27, both former aircraft hangars.

Building 2 is used for park equipment storage, and has a small area used as offices by the Seattle Conservation Corps. Arena Sports, an indoor athletic facility, is located in Building 27. A former radium-painting room at Building 27 was in an annex, referred to as the south shed, separate from the sports facility. The annex and nearby contaminated grounds are fenced, locked, and closed to public access.

The Navy is conducting its work under federal cleanup laws that apply to former and current military facilities. Washington’s departments of Ecology and Health are providing additional oversight. Health is the state’s radiation safety regulator.

Repeated Navy and Health Department tests have confirmed that no radiation above background  level – the amount of radiation naturally present in rocks and soil – is present in the Arena Sports complex. The Navy has completed its interior cleanup of the annex and plans to dismantle it this month, after Health has verified that all contamination has been removed.  

Site investigations and cleanup work continue at outdoor areas near these locations, primarily along storm drains connected to the buildings. Further phases of the Navy’s investigation will include the lake bottom in areas near the storm drain outfalls at the north end of the park.

An open house will start at 6 p.m. and  presentations will start at 7 p.m. Ecology will host presentations by the U.S. Navy, the Washington Department of Health Office of Radiation Protection, the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, Ecology representatives, and 46th District Representative Gerry Pollet.

An information packet from Ecology provides additional background and details about the ongoing cleanup project.

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Contact:

Larry Altose, communications, 425-649-7009, @ecySeattle

Ching-Pi Wang, Toxics Cleanup Program, 425-649-7134