Since the 1990s, the site has undergone ongoing monitoring. The results were shared with the public as they became available as part of a multi-year study, called the Remedial Investigation (RI). These findings are posted below.
Draft Remedial Investigation (RI) Report
The Draft RI Report uses the findings from the entire investigation to define the nature, extent, and magnitude of the contamination in order to identify the best methods for cleanup. For more information about the Draft RI Report you can:
What is Surface Water? en españolAreas where groundwater discharges to the surface, such as ditches or ponds, is called the surface water.
How is contamination studied in surface water?
Yard water, ditches, and ponds that are located above contaminated groundwater are regularly sampled for the contaminants.
Surface Water Results
2015 Surface Water Testing
Ecology directed Boeing to investigate surface water bodies in Algona and Auburn, including the Chicago Avenue ditch, Mill Creek, and the Auburn 400 North and South ponds. Surface water investigations in Algona and Auburn first began in 2012 and Ecology has continued to oversee collection and monitoring of surface water throughout 2015 and 2016.
In all cases, the concentrations of TCE in surface water do not represent a health concern. Through the investigations, we have discovered vinyl chloride levels to be closer to the current cleanup levels*. As a result, Boeing will continue to monitor the surface water for both TCE and vinyl chloride. The Washington State Department of Health, in conjunction with Ecology, reviewed the results for TCE and its breakdown product, vinyl chloride, and concluded that the concentrations do not represent a health concern from exposure (touching water, breathing air over contaminated groundwater or drinking water).
Final results for 2015 will be posted when they are available.
For more information about this testing:
Algona Neighborhood Yard and Ditch Sampling
Boeing sampled yards and ditches in residential Algona in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Results are below.
Ditch Results: All results for TCE and vinyl chloride in surface water from the ditches were below health based screening levels for surface water and do not represent a health risk as a result of contact (i.e. touching) during normal activities*. To date, the only detections of contaminants were found in ditches overlying contaminated groundwater.
Ditches are not safe places to play. According to the Department of Health, water levels in ditches may be a drowning hazard for young children. There is always the possibility of contamination unrelated to the Boeing plant, such as fecal contamination from animals and birds, storm water overflow, and residential waste. Mud in the ditch north of 11th Avenue is quite deep and may present a hazard to children who could get stuck.
Yard Results: There were no detections of the TCE and vinyl chloride in residential yard water samples in Algona, with one exception (at one location.) Those results were also below the health based screening levels. The sampling investigation focused on yards where the chemicals had been found in the groundwater below.
For more information about the ditch testing:
To learn more about yard sampling:
Mill Creek Results
No TCE or its breakdown products were detected in Mill Creek. In 2015, Ecology directed Boeing to sample water to determine if TCE (or its breakdown products) in groundwater below Mill Creek are getting into the creek. The final data report will be posted when approved. Find more information in Surface Water Data, September 2015.
Government Canal Results
In the past, Boeing discharged water from its wastewater treatment plant into Government Canal under an Ecology issued industrial wastewater permit. There were also some spills on the Boeing property that made their way to Government Canal through the discharge pipe from the treatment plant. That changed in 1987, when the treatment plant discharge was routed to Metro’s Renton treatment plant. Today, only treated stormwater runoff reaches Government Canal.
After an investigation of the sediments and soils in the canal in 1991 and 1992 indicated contamination, Boeing removed soil in two excavation locations in 1994. Ecology determined that the excavation (independent remedial action) cleaned up the sediment to state standards.
In 2012, Ecology oversaw surface water sampling in Government Canal and there were no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) detected.
Perimeter Road Results
Boeing also completed soil sampling around a pipe under Perimeter Road (not associated with Government Canal). This separate discharge pipe was from storm drains in the wastewater treatment plant area. In 1992, Boeing removed the pipe and surrounding contaminated soil. The remaining soil was tested and the concentrations of contamination were below levels screened to protect human health and the environment.
For more information:
*Ecology will finalize cleanup levels, when all the contaminants and possible exposure pathways are identified and both the Remedial Investigation (RI) and Feasibility Study (FS) are complete. Cleanup levels are selected to protect human health and the environment when methods for cleanup are evaluated in the FS.
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