West Seattle Blog… | ACTION: EPA sticks to plan to allow higher levels of a Duwamish River pollutant


(Photo BMS, September)

In February, we reported on the EPAthe plan to modify the clean-up plan for the Duwamish River, allowing for higher levels of a particular pollutant, benzo (a) pyrene (BaP), a “carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (cPAH)”. Higher levels would be allowed because a review process dating back to 2013 determined that the pollutant was less carcinogenic than previously believed. After a period of public comment and further consideration, the EPA is in the process of finalizing what it originally proposed. Here is the explanation of a leaf:

spokesperson for the EPA Bill Dunbar says, “Due to the reduced risk, EPA Region 10 has revised the allowable levels of cPAH in the Lower Duwamish Waterway. The higher levels will ensure the same level of protection of human health. The new levels are expected to reduce areas where waterway sediment requires Superfund cleaning by less than five percent. PCBs remain the main source of health risk for people at the site. People can be exposed to PCBs if they eat fish and shellfish that spend their lives in the river, or come in contact with sediment during beach games, net fishing, and clam fishing. PAHs do not accumulate in fish but are found in clams. The EPA estimates that since 2012, the average levels of cPAH and PCBs in the sediments of the Duwamish Waterway have been reduced by half thanks to the initial clean-up actions, control of sources of pollution and burying of sediments. cleaner upstream. Future cleaning to reduce PCBs will also reduce cPAHs. “

This change is part of what drove the Coalition to Clean Up the Duwamish River to organize a rally for the river just two weeks ago. Director General of the DRCC Paulina lopez tells the WSB that while the EPA’s decision is troubling, there is hope: “Unfortunately, the change approved by the EPA means that our communities will be exposed to higher levels of carcinogenic PAHs – in our river sediments, and in our fish and shellfish. We don’t think it protects health, especially for an environmental justice community with multiple and cumulative exposures. We are, however, encouraged that the impact of the EPA change will be minimized due to the decision of our city, county and port. declared commitment stay the course and clean up all cPAHs as originally directed by the 2014 clean up decision. DRCC will continue to call on our local governments to follow through on this commitment and we look forward to working with them to secure the cooperation and support of the EPA . to protect our communities, our fishermen, our habitat. “

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