Areas of low-level radioactive contamination exceeding Washington state and Federal EPA cleanup standards have been discovered at Magunson Park, a popular northeast Seattle destination. The contamination includes radioactive radium, strontium and cesium, in addition to pesticides and lead, according to State Rep. Gerry Pollet. The radioactive contamination is a remnant of the U.S. Navy’s use of radium paint for dials at the former Sand Point Naval Air Station and is concentrated around the southwest end of building 27, a building that houses Arena Sports and the Magnuson Athletic Club. No contamination has been found in Arena Sports or the Athletic Club.
In a March statement to KING5 news, the Navy said, “Areas identified during the Navy’s investigation in 2010, with elevated levels of radiological contamination were secured with signs, fencing and locks to protect the public. The public is safe and not exposed to any known areas of radiological contamination.”
The contamination comes from the “radium room,” an area used by the Navy for repair and maintenance of Navy aircraft. Radioluminescent (glow-in-the dark) paint was used in dials, gauges and markers in a radium paint shop. In a statement the Navy said during the time of its use, radioluminescent paint was not regulated by the government;. There were, however, Navy regulations on health and safety requirements.”
Today, use of radium is controlled by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state radiation health departments. Military and commercial entities stopped using radioluminescent paint in the late 1970′s.
In 2009, the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation, who now owns most of the former Naval Station, contacted the Navy to inform them through the course of their development planning they uncovered documents that suggest there might be radiological contamination in two buildings; buildings 2 and 27. The Navy conducted an investigation in 2010 and confirmed the presence of low-level radiological contamination from historic maintenance of radioluminescent dials in parts of the two buildings, as well as in piping, catch basins and adjacent soils.
City Parks and Recreation, their developer and Arena Sports, currently use the main hangar of building 27 as an indoor sports facility. The area of contamination in building 27 is located in the south shed and is seperated by a structural wall.
No contamination was identified in the hangar area where Arena Sports operates. The area within building 27 containing contamination has been secured with locks to prevent unauthorized access.
In a statement Rep. Pollett said the problem hasn’t been disclosed to the public for the past four years, even though it was discovered in 2009.
A public meeting and open house with the Navy, Seattle Parks and Washington Dept. of Ecology has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 29th. The open house goes from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and features a Q and A session at 7 p.m.
The event will be at The Mountaineers, 7700 Sand Point Way NE.
Below is a recent report by KING5 news:
Below is a follow up report by KING5: