Lake sediments safe in Kenmore area; public meeting set for July 11 on recent studies

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Photo taken from Lyons Creek Park July 2012
Photo by Carl Dinse

Public areas along Lake Washington’s northern tip are safe for swimming and other in-water recreation, according to assessments of lake sediments and water quality.

Findings will be presented at a public meeting set for July 11 at Kenmore City Hall, 18120 68th Ave NE. beginning at 5:30pm with an informal open house. A presentation and question and answer session will begin at 7pm.

Officials and experts from the city of Kenmore, the state Departments of Ecology and Health and other agencies will be available to answer questions.

The meeting will focus on three key developments:

City/state sediment study: Kenmore and Ecology jointly funded a study that examined sediment samples at Log Boom Park, Kenmore Navigation Channel, Kenmore Industrial Park, the lower reach of the Sammamish River, including the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) boat launch, and at Lake Forest Park’s Lyon Creek Waterfront Park. Concentrations of dioxin and other toxic substances in the sediments at most of these locations were consistent with or lower than background levels found in soil in other parts of the Seattle urban area.

The study also found dioxins in sediments above background levels at two private marinas. Ecology, the two private marina owners and the state Department of Natural Resources have agreed to cooperate on further evaluating sediment cleanup and dredge planning at these two locations, which are not swimming areas.

Lake Forest Park and commercial lakefront property owners helped fund the study or provided access for the sampling.

Department of Health assessment: The Washington Department of Health evaluated the sampling study data within Kenmore and concluded that contact with sediments outside the two private marinas – Harbour Village Marina and  Northlake Marina – is not expected to harm people’s health in the study area. This includes Logboom Park, the WDFW boat launch, and areas with limited public access such as the navigation channel and near the Kenmore Industrial Park (KIP) site.

Kenmore Navigation Channel dredging project: One goal of the Kenmore sediment study was to determine potential sediment disposal options for the future maintenance dredging of the Kenmore Navigation Channel, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) would undertake, subject to Congressional funding. The dredging would provide better vessel access to waterfront businesses. The city continues to work with the state’s congressional delegation and the Corps to include the maintenance dredging in a future budget and work program.

The Dredged Material Management Program (DMMP), a four-agency group that evaluates sediments for dredging purposes, reviewed sediment results for preliminary evaluation.  DMMP’s members are the Corps, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ecology, and Washington Department of Natural Resources. Because the recent testing was performed at a preliminary screening level, DMMP would require further analyses closer to the time of any dredging to determine if material would be suited for in-water disposal at an approved open water disposal site.

The City/Ecology sediment study is available for viewing at Kenmore City Hall, Kenmore Library, and Lake Forest Park Library.

Kenmore and Ecology conducted the studies in response to citizen concerns about health and environmental safety in Lake Washington and to gather information for planning for permits for work to maintain the navigation channel.


Ann Hurst July 11, 2013 at 11:36 AM  

Activists, Park lovers and lake sports enthusiasts,

Two scientists well versed in Ecology procedures or scientific procedures for measuring dioxin contamination across space and time, and mapping to seek and inhibit the source, have for non profit, People for Environmentally Responsible Kenmore (PERK), at their president's request, reviewed Ecology's findings and strongly disagree that there are "findings" that can be scientifically drawn from the shallow, one time testing which tonight Ecology will present to the public at Kenmore City Hall, 18120 68th Ave NE, beginning at 5:30pm with an informal open house. I will summarize the well reasoned explanation of why Ecology cannot claim Kenmore's extraordinary dioxin poisoning, higher than the Duwamish Superfund Site, is okay to let lie and add a few additional facts; if you wish the entire letter with tables and charts, it is available tonight or you can email for a copy. A presentation and question and answer session will begin at 7pm. Please come earlier to prepare for the hard questions. In January 2005, dioxin levels for Kenmore Navigation Channel were at 13.2 ppt.J, today, they are at 10.4 ppt. J, yet higher than Army Corps will allow to remain after dredging, Army Corps will require clean-up level to be .4 ppt.J. Duwamish Superfund is approx. 12.+ ppt. and being tested over time and space to prepare for clean-up -- I do not believe we are advised to swim there and cannot believe when the Log Boom swimming hole is adjacent and below Harbour Village Marina's zone of contamination of 70 ppt. that this contamination will not seep into the swimming hole, filled with children in the hotest months. etc., etc. Ecology claims that the contamination at the marinas is from a one time flood event of Stream #0056, yet the high sediment deposits from that stream overflowing occurred after January 2005, so where did the dioxin in the Kenmore Navigation Channel derive? And why is the zone of Harbour Village Marina that is closest to Kenmore's heavy industry the highest recorded in Kenmore at 92.+ ppt.? Ecology's answer has been not to worry, upland soils in heavily populated Seattle, are higher; Ecology tries to make us think that clean-up requirements for contamination under layers of landscaping and concrete are the same as for water sediments that are continually disturbed by heavy industry, continually dispersed.

Best, Ann Hurst

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