City Hall parking garage - question about contaminated soil

Friday, December 24, 2010

Photo by Steven H. Robinson. Garage driveway is to the left.
A SAN reader recently made a comment about the City's lack of due diligence in failing to identify and plan for contaminated soil under the City parking garage. As I had not heard anything about this, I checked with City staff.

Public Works Operations Manager Jesus Sanchez responded that the City followed a thorough due diligence process prior to construction which included hiring the firm Geomatrix to perform a geo-technical analysis, sampling and testing the soils at the entire site of the Shoreline Civic Center, including the parking garage. No contaminated soil was found there.

They did find contaminated soil, as expected, at the site of the former dry cleaning operation which had been located at the old City Hall Annex site.

“The area that did test positive for contaminated soils (TCE), was the site of the former dry cleaning operations located at the City Hall Annex site, where a necessary, voluntary clean-up had been anticipated prior to testing. At this time, the City is conducting tests for vapor intrusions analysis post construction, which when completed will provide a final report to the Department of Ecology.

"The City may be eligible to apply for grant reimbursement of up to $200,000. The contaminated area in question was in a section of the existing driveway leading to the parking garage.
The parking garage itself or soils under it, contained no contaminated soils.” 
 --Diane Hettrick


Anonymous,  December 24, 2010 at 8:53 AM  

The time to perform due diligence on contaminated soil is when you are negotiating on a sale price. If the soil is contaminated, then the value of the property is severely decreased.

This is double-speak on the part of the city staff, they were negligent in their negotiations with the former owner of said parcel in that they failed to perform their due diligence.

Additionally, obtaining a grant is no sure thing -- again, an example of double-speak on the part of city staff. The actual cost of remediating the contaminated soil was in excess of $335,000, not $200,000

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