Announcement: The Final Restoration Plan & Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (RP/PEIS) has been released for public review.
Site history: Chronic releases of hazardous substances
following the industrialization of the waterway in the early 1900s to the
Location: The Lower Duwamish River (approximately a five mile
stretch), near Elliott Bay, Washington.
Remedial investigations underway
Injury assessments underway
Restoration Planning Phase underway
Overview: The Duwamish River, once a wide meandering river with
thousands of acres of mudflats and wetlands was channelized and narrowed
through filling projects by the 1940s. The river flows through a highly
industrial area and numerous facilities line the banks of the river. These
include port facilities, manufacturing plants, chemical and solid waste
recycling companies, ship repair yards, and numerous combined sewer outfalls.
Multiple cleanups are being conducted in the Lower Duwamish River by the EPA
and the Washington Department of Ecology. The area of cleanup extends from
Harbor Island upstream to the end of navigable waters. Resources at risk
include the benthic community, flatfish, and salmon, particularly Chinook
salmon and steelhead, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered
Species Act. Contaminants of concern include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),
phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, pesticides, and
Clean-up of the highly industrial Lower Duwamish River is being addressed
through EPA led (Superfund and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) and
state led programs. NOAA works within the remedial process to improve the
quality and scope of assessments in the remedial investigation. NOAA provides
input related to sampling plans and data interpretation of collected sediment,
water, and tissue. In addition, NOAA provides input regarding impacts to
trustee resources, particularly through the ecological risk assessment process.
As the process moves toward the feasibility study, NOAA recommends cleanup
actions that will be protective in the long term and requests long term
monitoring to track cleanup progress. NOAA and the other trustees encourage
coordination among EPA, responsible parties, and the trustees to identify
opportunities to incorporate restoration into the remedial actions to create
efficiency and get to restoration in a timely manner.