COURTESY GRAPHIC, King County

COURTESY GRAPHIC, King County

Boeing settles suit, will aid Lones levee setback project

Once King County removes the 60-year old Lones levee setback on the Green River just east of Auburn, the Green will rejoin its historic floodplain.

County officials say creating more than 20 acres of salmon habitat in South King County will promote recovery and diversity of chinook salmon and steelhead stocks, help the Puget Sound’s struggling southern resident orca killer whales, and support off-site flood and erosion protection for farmland, private farms, homes and roads.

With, as of ink spilled on Feb. 25, help from The Boeing Co.

That’s the day two environmental nonprofits, Puget Soundkeeper and Waste Action Project, settled with Boeing to address multiple violations of state and federal water-quality and pollution-control standards at its Military Delivery Center (MDC) in Tukwila.

Relative to the MDC, the settlement requires Boeing to install advanced stormwater treatment facilities at the Tukwila site, expand that site’s stormwater monitoring locations to ensure pollutants are properly surveyed and remove PCB-laden flight line materials.

But Boeing has also agreed to pay King County $750,000 to help the Lones Levee Setback and Floodplain Restoration Project.

Founded in 1984, Puget Soundkeeper uses money from its successful settlements to protect, preserve and restore polluted waterways in the region via the Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund. Since 1994, the Waste Action Project has focused on the protection Washington state’s waterway, uses funds from settlements to build conservation community in and around waters harmed by pollution.

Here, according to a joint press release, is why the aforementioned non profits took on Boeing.

From the MDC site south of Boeing Field on the east side of the Duwamish River, the Boeing MDC site discharges industrial stormwater to the Duwamish River under Washington state’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit (ISGP).

The ISGP allows Boeing to discharge industrial storm water into the Duwamish River but carefully monitors various pollutants with known harmful health effects on humans and wildlife. Of these, polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are especially lethal, and known to cause cancer and complications to the immune, reproductive, and nervous system.

According to the release, Department of Ecology records show that the Boeing MDC site had been discharging high levels of PCBs for at least five years without adequate monitoring or control.

According to reports, the Boeing MDC site has, at certain times, discharged up to 36,000 times the Water Quality Standards for Human Health Criteria for PCBs into the Duwamish River, an already-heavily contaminated Superfund site since 2001.

PCB contamination is a key reason for the endangered status of Southern Resident orca whales. PCBs bio-accumulate up the food chain, are stored in fatty tissues, and passed from mother orcas to calves via the mother’s milk, contributing to calf mortality.

What’s more, according to the release, solids found in the catch basins of Boeing’s MDC site were 497 million times over the Sediment Quality Standards for Human Health Criteria. The PCB levels in the sediment from Boeing MDC catch basins are of critical concern, especially during heavy rains that can loosen toxic sediment and cause it to flow directly into the Duwamish River.

The source of the PCBs includes flight line caulking material, runway strip paint, and building materials. Though Boeing has reduced many of these sources by removing these materials, additional abatement is required by today’s settlement.

“We were astounded to find that Boeing was discharging such high levels of PCBs to a river that has an active superfund cleanup underway to abate PCBs, of which they are already responsible for cleaning up,” Katelyn Kinn, Puget Soundkeeper’s Staff Attorney, said in the release.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterburg (File Photo)
King County Prosecuting Attorney vows to protect reproductive freedom

Dan Satterberg joins over 80 prosecutors from around the country in their pledge.

Auburn Police
Dog bites girl, threatens officer, officer shoots dog

On May 13, the Auburn Police Department was dispatched to the 1800… Continue reading

Teaser
King County approves emergency grant after U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

Washington is expecting an influx of people seeking abortions from out of state.

Fedor Osipov, 15, flips into Steel Lake in Federal Way during last year's heatwave on June 28, 2021. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Heatwave expected to hit King County

Temperatures will likely reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, June 26, and Monday, June 27.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII: Examining Auburn police officer’s grim tattoos

Episode 5 in special podcast series that explores Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Auburn High School graduates proudly don the Trojan colors. Photo courtesy of Auburn School District
Congrats to Auburn School District’s Class of 2022

A total of 1,221 students participated in Class of 2022 graduation ceremonies… Continue reading

File photo
Arsons and hit and runs | Auburn police blotter

The following information is taken from the Auburn Police Department’s daily blotter… Continue reading

John Daniels Jr. and his family pose for a photo with King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. Photo courtesy of Pete von Reichbauer’s office
MLK service medal awarded to Muckleshoot Tribal Councilmember

King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer awarded the 2022 Dr. Martin Luther… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of King County.
Officials urge caution when swimming this summer

Cold spring temperatures and larger than normal snowpack have created dangerous conditions

Most Read