State ready to clean up Burien's Lora Lake

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 8:39 AM

BURIEN, Wash. - Washington Department of Ecology officials say they will remove some toxins at the Lora Lake Apartments cleanup site in Burien and leave and cap the rest.

A public comment period began Monday on the plan, which is one of the last steps in the long and strange tale of the Lora Lake Apartments.

Residents were forced to leave the complex in 2007 as part of Sea-Tac Airport’s third runway project. The apartments were too close to the flight path.

Low income housing officials and King County leaders fought the decision to close the apartments and a short social justice campaign involving several groups began.

It wasn’t until after that fight was over and the Port of Seattle had acquired the property that it was learned the soil had been severely contaminated with toxins including cancer-causing dioxins. Investigators determined the contamination came from an industrial barrel cleaning operation back in the 1940s.

The Port of Seattle demolished the buildings and was left with the clean up. It will now split the cost with the Department of Ecology. The plan is to dig up and remove the most contaminated areas and cover the rest with clean dirt and a protective cover to keep out rain and reduce runoff.

The apartments’ namesake, Lora Lake, is also contaminated with dioxins and will be filled in and restored to a wetland. That’s what it was before it was turned into a lake as part of a peat mining operation in 1940s.

The public comment period officially opened Monday and the plan is available for public review at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=2008

The Department of Ecology and Port of Seattle will also host an open house on November 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Highline School District’s Educational Resources and Administration Center, 15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW in Burien.


 

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