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Tulalip Superfund Site Capped, Completed

Release Date: 10/24/2000
Contact Information: Loren McPhillips
(206) 553-4903

October 24, 2000 - - - - - - - - - - - - 00-60

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Tulalip Tribes and Waste Management of Washington today announced the completion of construction of a cap on the former Tulalip landfill Superfund site near Marysville. This closes the final chapter of a cleanup delayed by five highly contentious lawsuits between the EPA and some of the responsible parties, primarily the Seattle Disposal Company (SDC).

Under a lease from the Tulalip Tribes, SDC operated the 147-acre landfill from 1964 until 1979 when three to four million tons of mixed commercial and industrial waste was deposited in the landfill. After the landfill was closed and capped with soil, it was discovered that heavy metals and other contaminants -- including ink from the newspapers’ printing operations -- were leaking from the landfill into surrounding wetlands and sloughs leading to the Snohomish River.

Due to potential threats to human health and the environment EPA placed the landfill on EPA’s National Priorities (Superfund) List in 1995. The primary contaminants of concern were aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, and manganese.

WMI, one of the responsible parties, stepped forward during settlement negotiations to do the cleanup work, which included importing approximately 830,000 cubic yards of soil, sand, and topsoil, and installing over 21million square feet of liners and capping materials. The work is estimated to have cost $34 million.

“If the saying ‘All’s well that ends well’ has ever been appropriate for a Superfund cleanup, this is the one,” said EPA Regional Administrator Chuck Findley. “The legal wrangling is over and the environment is cleaned and protected.”

John McCoy, Director of Governmental Affairs for the Tulalip Tribes said, “The members of the tribe are very pleased that the old landfill site has been capped and the contaminants have ceased leaking into Puget Sound.”

“We are pleased that the cleanup of this old site is finally done,” said Jerry Hardebeck, Director of Municipal Relations for Waste Management of Washington. “Although the project ended up costing twice the original projection, the company has honored its commitment to pay its share of the project. Like our commitment to managing state-of-the-art facilities today, undertaking the remediation of the old sites like the Tulalip landfill is consistent with our commitment to the community and the environment.”