Burlington Environmental LLC Georgetown
734 S Lucile St, Seattle, WA 98108

TWO CLEANUP SITES

This page has information about two cleanup sites: (1) the Burlington Environmental-Georgetown site, and (2) the West of 4th site. The term “East of 4th” is used to refer to the part of the Burlington Environmental-Georgetown site on the east side of Fourth Avenue South. On the east side of Fourth, Burlington Environmental is solely responsible for the cleanup.


WHAT'S NEW?

Last updated April 13, 2020

CLEANUP - EAST OF 4TH

In January and February 2020 Burlington Environmental injected oxidant (sodium persulfate and other chemicals) into the groundwater contaminated with 1,4-dioxane in areas east of 4th Ave. S. The injected chemicals help breakdown the 1,4-dioxane. Groundwater monitoring began immediately after the injections to make sure the treatments worked. Burlington Environmental put out a flyer beforehand to businesses and residents near the injections. In general, the field work was completed as described in the company’s approved work plan (revised work plan). For more details about this project see“SITE BACKGROUND – EAST OF 4th” and “CURRENT STATUS - EAST OF 4TH below.

CLEANUP - WEST OF 4TH

Two pilot studies at the West of 4th site began wrapping up this year. The first, called the “metals immobilization study,” has been in a monitoring phase since August 2019 (when a second injection occurred). The second, referred to as the “CVOC pilot study,” began in October 2018 and has been in its monitoring phase since. See “CURRENT STATUS - WEST OF 4TH” below for more detailed information about these two studies.


2017 in-situ pilot study locations
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SITE BACKGROUND - EAST OF 4TH

East of 4th Ave. S., chemicals were spilled or leaked from underground tanks and contaminated the groundwater and soils at the Burlington Environmental-Georgetown facility located at 734 S. Lucile St. Burlington Environmental is solely responsible for cleaning up this contamination. 

Burlington Environmental is a wholly owned subsidiary of PSC Environmental Services, LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stericycle Environmental Solutions, Inc. The site and facility are also known as “PSC-Georgetown.”

In 1991, Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit to Burlington Environmental. The permit allowed the company to receive, store, and treat hazardous and dangerous wastes at their Georgetown facility. The permit required investigating and addressing soil and groundwater contamination caused by past chemical releases at the facility.

In 2003 Burlington Environmental closed this facility and removed all buildings on the property. That year EPA also transferred agency oversight for this cleanup to Ecology. The following year, Burlington Environmental built a below ground barrier wall that encircles their facility property as well as the property immediately west (which Burlington Environmental purchased). The barrier wall will contain highly contaminated groundwater below these properties and prevent it from moving toward the Duwamish.

In 2010 Ecology issued a state Agreed Order (#DE 7347) to Burlington Environmental. The Order contains a Cleanup Action Plan, which requires cleaning and containing contaminated
site soils and groundwater. Although groundwater contamination caused by the facility extends farther west than 4th Ave. S., the cleanup actions in the Agreed Order mostly address contamination east of 4th Ave.

Ecology approved Burlington Environmental’s Engineering Design Report in 2011 and the company has been implementing cleanup actions since then. Most of these actions are complete. However, in 2015 the Agreed Order was amended to include new cleanup actions to address stubbornly high levels of 1,4-dioxane in site groundwater.

In 2015 Burlington Environmental also began to treat volatile organic groundwater contamination within the area behind the facility’s subsurface barrier wall (east of Denver Ave. S. and north of S. Lucile St.). Starting in 2016, they have injected a bioremediation enhancement every six months, and then mixed in the enhancement by pumping from one well and re-injecting in another. The enhancement helps naturally occurring bacteria break down contaminants like trichloroethene (TCE) and vinyl chloride. Enhancement is injected in May and September. The last injection/recirculation event is scheduled for May 2020.

Burlington Environmental ran three pilot studies from 2016 to 2018. The studies tested different cleanup technologies for reducing levels of 1,4-dioxane in groundwater.

The studies are summarized below: 

· An in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO study), which tested the effectiveness of injecting non-activated sodium persulfate into groundwater.

· A study which tested the effectiveness of wax cylinders ("candles") that were installed in wells and slowly released oxidants (persulfate and permanganate) into groundwater.

· A bioaugmentation study that evaluated the effectiveness of introducing non-native microorganisms (i.e. bacteria) capable of destroying 1,4-dioxane in the groundwater.

The study results indicated that ISCO could be an effective cleanup technology if:

1. Sodium persulfate were activated with another chemical (such as hydrogen peroxide).

2. Injections could reliably distribute the oxidant throughout the contaminated
groundwater.

Bioaugmentation, however, is unlikely to be effective. The introduced microorganisms did not thrive in site groundwater at the depths where 1,4-dioxane is high.


CURRENT STATUS - EAST OF 4TH

In April 2019, Ecology approved an environmental for a portion of Union Pacific Railroad’s Argo Yard. This portion of Argo Yard, immediately east and north of Burlington Environmental, was used by Burlington Environmental and became contaminated. Although much of the soil contamination in that area has been cleaned up, some contamination remains and property use restrictions (the covenant) are needed to protect human health and the environment for the long-term. Restrictions include not drinking groundwater and not developing the area for residential use. (See: Environmental Covenant.)

In 2019 Burlington Environmental injected bioremediation enhancement into groundwater behind the barrier wall and mixed in the enhancement material by pumping in one area and re-injecting in another. This was done twice a year for 5 years. The last injection/recirculation event is scheduled for May 2020.

A cleanup action to reduce 1,4-dioxane in groundwater began early this year. Oxidant was injected into groundwater in two locations: (1) an area just north of the Lucile St./Maynard Ave. intersection; and, (2) a north-to-south line along the east side of 6th Ave. S., between Lucile and Orcas Sts. The results of this action are currently being monitored.

Soil is contaminated on Burlington Environmental’s and Union Pacific Railroad’s properties. Remaining contaminants include petroleum and a number of volatile, semi-volatile, and inorganic substances. Although PCB-contaminated soils were the focus of cleanup actions on both properties, low levels still remain in some areas. Where soils are contaminated above cleanup levels they are paved over with a thick concrete slab.

Groundwater beyond (outside of) Burlington Environmental’s barrier wall is currently contaminated with petroleum-related substances, TCE, vinyl chloride, and 1,4-dioxane. Groundwater behind the barrier wall contains higher concentrations of these chemicals and a larger number of contaminants (volatile, semi-volatile, and inorganic chemicals).

View cleanup documents for East of 4th.


Site Map
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SITE BACKGROUND - WEST OF 4TH

Contaminated groundwater traveled from the Burlington Environmental facility to areas west of 4th Avenue S., and mixed with contamination from three other companies: Art Brass Plating, Blaser Die Casting, and Capital Industries. These three companies AND Burlington Environmental are jointly responsible for cleaning up the West of 4th site.  The four companies are the “Potentially Liable Persons,” or “PLPs,” under the state MTCA (Model Toxics Control Act) law.

Ecology has divided the West of 4th cleanup site into two units. We call them Site Unit 1 and Site Unit 2. Site Unit 1 is the more northern unit. Soil and groundwater are contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds at both site units. In Site Unit 1 soil and groundwater are also contaminated with nickel and other toxic metals.

In 2008, Ecology issued Orders to Art Brass Plating, Blaser Die Casting, and Capital Industries. The Orders required the companies to investigate soils and groundwater contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds (mainly, tetrachloroethene, TCE, and TCE’s degradation products). During the Art Brass Plating property investigation, high levels of toxic metals were found. The three companies finished their investigations and submitted Remedial Investigation (RI) Reports in 2012.

In 2014 Ecology issued Agreed Order (#DE 10402) to Art Brass Plating, Blaser Die Casting, Capital Industries, and Burlington Environmental. This Order created the West of 4th site. The Order requires that the four companies perform a joint Feasibility Study (FS) and submit FS Reports for Site Unit 1 and Site Unit 2.

The companies submitted revised FS Reports for the two Site Units in 2016. After Ecology’s review, the parties agreed to do two pilot studies in Site Unit 1 and an interim action in Site Unit 2 before choosing preferred cleanup actions for the site. The Agreed Order was amended in 2017 to include the two studies and the interim action.

In 2018 the companies began studying two potential cleanup methods to see if they would work at this site. Work plans for the two Site Unit 1 studies were approved in January 2018. See: 2017 SU1 Metals Pilot Test Work Plan Final; 2017 SU1 Downgradient DVOC Pilot Test Work Plan FINAL. Later in 2018 the companies:

1. Installed new wells and collected soil and groundwater samples before the Metals Immobilization pilot study.

2. Completed the "bench-scale" portion of this study.

3. Injected sodium bicarbonate into groundwater to raise its pH.

4. Sampled groundwater to see how high the pH could be raised and for how long.

5. Installed groundwater wells and collected samples before for the CVOC pilot
study.

6. Injected chemicals into groundwater to break down TCE and vinyl chloride.

7. Started groundwater monitoring to see if the treatment was working.

In 2019 the companies continued to monitor groundwater in the Site Unit 1 areas where pilot studies were active. They found that the injections for the Metals Immobilization raised the groundwater pH, but not as high as needed. The companies then tried a lab study to see if different chemicals or different concentrations could more effective. In August, a second injection event was done, this time using a solution of both sodium bicarbonate and sodium hydroxide. This second injection was better at raising the pH in the groundwater.

The two figures below show the site areas where the Site Unit 1 pilot studies were conducted. 


Pilot Study Layout, Near Duwamish Waterway
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WEST OF 4TH, SITE UNIT 1 – CVOC PILOT STUDY NEAR DUWAMISH WATERWAY

In this site area groundwater is contaminated with TCE and vinyl chloride. The study will determine if in-situ chemical reduction (ISCR) and enhanced in situ bioremediation (ISB)
will be an effective treatment approach.


Pilot Study Locations, Art Brass Plating
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WEST OF 4TH, SITE UNIT 1 – METALS IMMOBILIZATION PILOT STUDY NEAR ART BRASS PLATING

This is an area where elevated levels of nickel and other metals are present in groundwater. The study will determine the best way to raise groundwater pH, and thereby lower metals concentrations.

In 2018 the companies also submitted work plans for the Site Unit 2 interim action. The first work plan was approved in January 2018. See: 2017 SU2 Interim Action Work Plan Revised. The interim action was designed to use ISCO for the treatment of soil
contamination below Capital Industries’ Plant 4. TCE and tetrachloroethene (PCE) were the target contaminants and the selected oxidant was potassium permanganate.

The figure below shows the site area where the interim action was conducted.


Interim Action Injection Points
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WEST OF 4TH, SITE UNIT 2 - INTERIM ACTION

Implementation of the interim action was staged.

The first stage targeted a sub-set of the total locations planned for injection. In August 2018 oxidant injections were conducted at five Plant 4 locations. The injections were followed by soilborings, and samples were collected from boring depths where the oxidant
was observed (potassium permanganate has a purplish color). 

Sampling and monitoring results in August and September after the first stage injections were completed indicated that the oxidant was poorly and unpredictably distributed (See: Draft Capital Industries Plant 4 Interim Action - Stage 1 In-Situ Chemical Oxidation Report.) As a consequence, Ecology and the companies decided not to proceed with the second stage of injections. Instead, in 2019 the companies decided to study the feasibility
of using soil vapor extraction (SVE) to treat Plant 4’s contaminated soils. A work plan for an SVE study was submitted to Ecology for review on April 5 (See: Draft Capital Industries Plant 4 Interim Action - Soil Vapor Extraction Pilot Study Work Plan), and the study was
completed during the summer.  It concluded that SVE was a feasible treatment technology for contaminated soils at Plant 4.


CURRENT STATUS - WEST OF 4TH

Currently, soils are contaminated on the Art Brass Plating, Blaser Die Casting, and Capital Industries properties. Contaminants include PCE, TCE, and – at Art Brass Plating –
plating-related metals like nickel. Where soils are contaminated above cleanup levels they are covered with paving or buildings.

Groundwater at the West of 4th site is currently contaminated with PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride, metals, and 1,4-dioxane. Elevated levels of TCE and vinyl chloride have migrated as far west as the Duwamish Waterway and are discharging to the river. 

The 2018/2019 CVOC pilot study targeted contaminated groundwater approaching the Duwamish Waterway. Monitoring results indicate that the chemicals injected into groundwater to chemically reduce and biodegrade contaminants have been effective and have dramatically reduced TCE levels.

The four West of 4th companies are currently completing a joint Feasibility Study (FS). Their amended Agreed Order requires that they submit “Completion Reports” at the conclusion of the two FS pilot studies and interim action. However, since the Site Unit 2 interim action was not completed, Ecology accepted the February 2019 Stage 1 ISCO Report as Site Unit 2’s “completion report.”  We also waived the submittal of Site Unit 1’s “completion reports” for the two pilot studies. Pilot study monitoring data were submitted in quarterly progress reports and Ecology and the companies discussed these data throughout 2019 as they became available. Therefore, the next steps at the site are:

1. Preparation of a technical memorandum, discussing the results of two years of site-wide groundwater water-level measurements (including “continuous” results obtained by transducers installed in a number of monitoring wells). The measurements have been taken to help determine groundwater flow directions. The memorandum was submitted in April 2020. 

2. Preparation of FS Report Addenda (one Addendum for each Site Unit’s FS Report). These documents will evaluate specific alternatives for cleaning up the site and conclude with the companies’ preferred cleanup actions. They are due in November 2020.

Following Ecology’s review of the groundwater technical memorandum and the two FS Report Addenda, we will choose our preferred cleanup action for the site. It will be described in a draft Cleanup Action Plan (CAP) and made available for public review. At that time we will also draft a new Agreed Order. After Public Comment on the CAP
and new Agreed Order, Ecology will finalize the documents and the four companies will
design and implement the selected cleanup action(s).

View comprehensive list cleanup documents for West of 4th.


WHY THESE CLEANUPS MATTER

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the 5-mile stretch of the Duwamish River that flows north into Elliot Bay to the Superfund National Priorities List in 2001. This part of the river is now referred to as the “Lower Duwamish Waterway (LDW) Superfund Site.” 

Sediments (mud) in the river contain a wide range of contaminants due to decades of industrial activity and runoff from urban areas. EPA is leading efforts to clean up these river sediments. Ecology is leading efforts to control sources of contamination from the surrounding land. Contaminants in the soil and groundwater around the river pose a risk to human health and the environment. These contaminants can find their way into the river through storm runoff and other pathways. 

Ecology’s Lower Duwamish Waterway source control efforts have the long-term goals of avoiding recontamination of the river bottom and restoring acceptable water quality in the river.


 

Map showing site location as King County, WA SITE INFORMATION

Map

View Electronic Documents

Cleanup Site Details Report

Facility Site ID: # 47779679

Cleanup Site ID: 2622

Location:
Seattle, King County

Status: Cleanup Started   Get definitions of Status terminology

Contacts:
Paul Bianco
Site Manager
(206) 594-0046

Janelle Anderson
Public Involvement Coordinator
(425) 301-6454


Document Repositories:

Northwest Regional Office
15700 Dayton Ave N
Shoreline, 98133
(206)594-0016

South Park Branch / Seattle Public Library
8604 Eighth Avenue South
Seattle, 98108
(206)615-1688