Activists say Lake Washington pollutant study is flawed

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 23 at 8:52 AM

At a public hearing set for Wednesday night, concerned Kenmore citizens will argue that a study finding no dangerous levels of pollutants in Lake Washington is flawed.

They claim dioxins that have sat on the bottom of the Kenmore Canal for years are being stirred up by tug boats used during 520 bridge construction.

A recent study by the Department of Ecology found high levels of dangerous dioxins near marinas, but nothing dangerous in recreation areas. 

“Their study was cursory at best,” says Janet Hays, a local activist.

Hays and others say the water samples were too shallow and in the wrong areas. She believes the public is at risk until the source of the dioxins is found. An area near the Kenmore canal was once a garbage dump, and Hays says signs should be posted warning the public of possible danger.

“Until they find out where the source is, they need to stop the tug boats,” she says.

The state Department of Ecology issued a notice of violation against 520 bridge contractor Kiewit/General/Manson for churning up water. Since, the company says its started using more shallow draft tugs.

The City of Kenmore asked for the water study and city leaders say the results are encouraging.

"We're encouraged by these findings," said Kenmore Mayor David Baker. "The city made a worthwhile investment that succeeded in giving our community information and reassurance about the lake bottom, while clarifying where to direct further environmental efforts." 

The Department of Ecology and Kenmore will host an informal open house on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Kenmore City Hall to answer questions about the sampling results.  Another meeting will be scheduled in the spring on the study's final report.

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