SEATTLE - Heavy equipment on Monday erased a bad memory from the banks of the Duwamish River. The Port of Seattle, after 20 years of negotiations, tore down the office buildings for the old Malarkey Asphalt Company which operated, along with a predecessor, for more than 70 years.
For neighbors in the Seattle s South Park neighborhood it is a sign of progress in a process that has dragged on for years. Many have had their yards excavated to remove contamination. They have endured the constant rumble of heavy equipment and the stigma of living with a toxic Superfund for a neighbor.
But much of that was forgotten when the buildings were torn down and the old plant took one more big step toward becoming a cleaned up site, replaced by a natural river bend where kayakers can put in and residents can visit without the need to scrub their shoes afterward.
The Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the clean-up and has placed monitors to detect contaminates or noise that may reach harmful levels during the demolition.
Port officials call the Malarkey Plant in what s known as terminal 117 a leg in a toxic triangle that includes two properties on the other side of the river; a monstrous Boeing plant which has already been torn down and the Jorgenson Forge site where plans are underway for major removals of contaminated soils.