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Boeing Fabrication Auburn Plant

Pilot Study   en español

The Boeing Company (Boeing) and its contractor are performing a bioremediation pilot study under the direction of the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology). Boeing’s contractors are conducting this study to see if this previously successful method might be effective for cleaning up the contaminated groundwater in Algona and Auburn.

Once the data from the pilot study are analyzed, the results will be posted on Ecology’s website and shared with the community. The results will give Ecology a head start on the future Feasibility Study, and will be used to help evaluate potential cleanup options.

Pilot Study Location

The bioremediation pilot study will be conducted in the commercial area of northeastern Algona at 851 Milwaukee Ave N (see map below). Fourteen new wells will be installed as part of the study, and most will be located on commercial property.

Map showing the pilot study area.
Click on image for larger view.

Study Process

During the study, technicians inject a non-toxic, food-grade solution into the groundwater wells located near a building in the commercial district of Algona. With more food, the population of the naturally occurring microbes usually increases, enabling them to break down the chemical contamination in the groundwater. Groundwater will be sampled downstream from the injection wells and the results will indicate whether this cleanup method can work for this site.

This technology, called bioremediation, has worked in situations where concentrations of TCE and its breakdown products were at higher levels than what is in the groundwater under Algona and Auburn. Boeing used this technology to clean up a contaminated area on its property during the 2004-2005 Interim Action. This pilot study will help Ecology evaluate whether the technique is effective at lower concentrations of the chemicals present in the groundwater plume.

For more information about bioremediation, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s Citizen’s Guide to Bioremediation.