Terminal 5 Remediation
Terminal 5 (T-5) is among the largest of the Port of Seattle’s (Port) container handling and storage facilities, at 3443 West Marginal Way SW, Seattle. This 185-acre facility serves as an efficient container transportation hub through on-dock intermodal transportation. Using intermodal on-dock container transfer supports the port’s Green Gateway strategy by expediting the container movement process and reducing emissions. Of all containers offloaded at intermodal docks such as T-5, 75% leave the terminal through rail, reducing in-city freight truck miles by 180,000 per year.
In 1994, the port expanded the original T-5 facility to include several surrounding properties that could be redeveloped to accommodate intermodal container handling, a larger container marshaling area and increased berthing area. Properties included in the scope contained known historical contamination that needed to be addressed during construction. The Department of Ecology (DOE) divided the facility into multiple cleanup sites known as Remedial Areas (RA) to reflect different contamination sources associated with historical operations. Five RAs were outlined, four of which were cleaned up under oversight of the DOE, and one was with oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
On the cleanup areas (RA-1, RA-2, RA-3, RA-5), formal agreements called Consent Decrees (CD) under which the cleanup action plans were developed and implemented with oversight by the Department of Ecology. Previous industry located on these RAs included steel fabrication, a rail yard, small businesses along Spokane Street and the West Seattle landfill. A variety of contaminants were produced from these industries including steel slag, polychlorinated biphenyl's (PCBs), total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) and various metals. Various remediation techniques were used for each RA’s specific cleanup action plan. These RAs are currently managed through long-term monitoring and include restrictive land use covenants.
RA-4 was listed on the National Priority List (NPL) in 1994, as the Pacific Sound Resources (PSR) Superfund site. Contamination associated with wood-treatment occurred at this facility from 1911-1994. During construction, the port remediated the facility to standards required by the EPA and used this area for facility expansion and public access.
As part of the redevelopment project, the port created Jack Block Park, on the northwest corner of the T-5 property. This 15-acre park provides public shoreline access, accessible pier, a 45-foot high observation tower and panoramic views of Seattle. The park also provides views of the container operations at T-5 that support the local economy.
To offset construction in the intertidal zone during redevelopment, the port also created a restoration site known as Turning Basin Number 3, featuring 1.3 acres of restored native estuarine aquatic habitat. Restored in 1999, the site now flourishes among its industrial neighbors on the waterway.