East Waterway Group Statement on EPA’s Interim Record of Decision

The members of the East Waterway Group (the Port of Seattle, the City of Seattle, and King County) are pleased that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its Interim Record of Decision for cleanup of the East Waterway at the mouth of the Duwamish River and we are reviewing the Interim Record of Decision to learn what remedy and other requirements are outlined in the EPA’s Decision.  The East Waterway Group is committed to the most effective cleanup of the East Waterway to reduce risks to public health and protect the environment. 

To be ready for the cleanup, the members of the East Waterway Group have already completed significant work under the direction of the EPA to collect hundreds of sediment, tissue, and water samples; performed human health and ecological risk assessments; performed sediment transport modeling; and developed and compared potential cleanup actions to address contaminated sediment. East Waterway Group members and other separate entities have also performed investigations seeking ongoing sources of contamination to the waterway and cleaned up facilities, drainage lines, and combined sewer systems in the East Waterway basin.  

The East Waterway is part of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s and Suquamish Tribe’s usual and accustomed fishing area, serves ecological functions as a deep-water estuary, and provides public fishing access. The waterway is also one of the most active commercial waterways in the Pacific Northwest, supporting shipping and water-based industries.  Part of the larger Habor Island Superfund Site and located immediately downstream of the Lower Duwamish Waterway sediment cleanup site, the East Waterway contains contaminated sediment that poses unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Risks to people are highest from eating resident seafood that live in the waterway for most or all of their life.  Lower, but still significant, health risks to people come from sediment contact while clamming and net fishing.  Animals that live in the sediment and some resident fish are also at risk.  EPA’s Interim Record of Decision details the EPA’s decision on the cleanup remedy for the contaminated sediments in this culturally, environmentally, and economically important waterway.  

The East Waterway Group members are eager to continue working with the EPA and other public stakeholders to advance the cleanup to restore this vital waterway.  The EPA has shared more information about the Interim Record of Decision at HARBOR ISLAND (LEAD) | Superfund Site Profile | Superfund Site Information | US EPA. General information about the Superfund cleanup process can also be found at Superfund Cleanup Process | US EPA