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NPL Site Narrative for Pacific Sound Resources

Seattle, Washington

Federal Register Notice:  May 31, 1994

The West Seattle wood treating plant of Pacific Sound Resources (PSR) is located at 2801 Southwest Florida Street in Seattle, King County, Washington. The 20-acre property is in an industrial area on the shore of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound, near the Duwamish River. Wood treating operations at the plant date to 1906. PSR has owned and operated the facility since 1964. Another turn-of-the-century wood treating facility owned and operated by PSR (formerly the Wyckoff Co.) since 1964 was placed on the NPL in 1987 as part of the Wyckoff Co.-Eagle Harbor site.

Operations at the two facilities have been similar. The primary wood preservatives used were creosote, which consists primarily of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and pentachlorophenol (PCP). Each was mixed with fuel oil. In addition, substantial quantities of chemonite, which contains copper, arsenic, and zinc, were also used.

Wood treatment operations at the West Seattle plant have contaminated soil, ground water, and Puget Sound sediments with creosote, PCP, fuel oil, and chemonite metals. A significant source of contamination was a "transfer table," where containers were loaded and unloaded. The transfer table was located in a shallow unlined earthen pit known as the "transfer table pit." Numerous investigations of the pit, including one by EPA in 1989, have documented contamination with arsenic, chromium, copper, zinc, and PAHs. In August/September 1990, PSR excavated approximately 450 cubic yards of soils and sludge from the pit, placed them in a containment box on the northeast end of the site, and covered the box with a 3-inch layer of concrete over wire mesh.

Another source of hazardous substances at the site is an area adjacent to Elliott Bay where three aboveground tanks were formerly used to store creosote. A major leak occurred at one of the tanks in 1970. In addition, numerous spills occurred over the years from pipelines leading to the tanks.

Heavy metals and PAHs were found in Elliott Bay by the Washington Department of Ecology and EPA in 1988. Hazardous substances from the site can flow overland from the site to Elliott Bay through storm drains, direct surface runoff, flooding, and accidental spills or drips. The bay is a fishery, a critical migratory corridor for anadromous fish, and a subarea identified in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Puget Sound National Estuary.

In July/August 1991, EPA found heavy metals and PAHs in onsite soil and air downwind of the site. An estimated 150 people live within 0.25 mile of the site, and 175,000 within 4 miles.

Since 1984, EPA has issued several administrative orders against Wyckoff under CERCLA, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Clean Water Act (CWA) requiring investigation and cleanup at the site.

In 1985, Wyckoff and officials no longer associated with PSR, pleaded guilty to violations of RCRA for storing hazardous waste at the West Seattle plant without a RCRA permit and violations of CWA for discharging wood preserving residues into the West Waterway of the Duwamish River.

For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.

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