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The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Bothell starts cleanup and development to create community space

Lot+EFG%2C+currently+a+parking+lot+in+front+of+Baskin+Robbins+in+Bothell%2C+will+be+redeveloped+in+the+next+several+years.
Weiju Wang (he/him)
Lot EFG, currently a parking lot in front of Baskin Robbins in Bothell, will be redeveloped in the next several years.

The city of Bothell started cleaning up the parking lot in front of Baskin-Robbins at the intersection of Bothell Way and Woodinville Drive this month. The lot, named Lot EFG, is 48,173 sq ft and one of six sites downtown that the city has identified as having significant groundwater and soil contamination because of dry cleaners, gas stations and vehicle maintenance facilities that were in the area in the 50’s and 60’s. Lot EFG is the last of the six to begin cleanup. The city of Bothell intends to develop Lot EFG into a community space in the next 6-8 years.

Over the past several years, the city has conducted investigations to prepare for the cleanup process. Washington State Department of Ecology, which is responsible for the cleanup, granted $835,875 in funding to the city for Lot EFG, and over $6.5 million total for all six sites.

To include community voices, the Bothell City Council sent out a public survey on Oct. 16 regarding what the space will look like in the future, as there is currently no definite plan in place for its development. The survey showed concept art of four potential uses of the space, including a playground, an outdoor art museum and a small ice rink, and asked respondents what they like and dislike about the proposed ideas. The five guiding principles for Lot EFG’s development are year-round use, diverse activities, multiculturalism, connections and accessibility for all ages.

Site Manager Sunny Becker (she/her) of the Washington State Department of Ecology said the cleanup project began with the city’s acquisition of properties for the relocation of state Route 522 — a highway near the contaminated sites — during which the contaminated sites were discovered. However, many of the businesses originally responsible for the contamination are no longer operating, so the city is unable to obtain monetary compensation.

“The dry cleaner that had the spill is from 50’s and 60’s; at that time, our environmental regulations were not very stringent,” Becker said. “And now, if there’s a dry cleaner, I believe they know how, when the solvent has been used, how to dispose of it properly. They don’t just

open the back door and just dump it, as what they were doing in the 50’s.”

The cleanup process will happen in two phases: soil excavation, which started in October, and injection of treatments to break down groundwater contamination, which will begin in March. The primary source of contamination is tetrachloroethylene, a dry cleaning solvent that can impact indoor air quality and is present in both the soil and groundwater

Becker said the sheer cost of the project — from investigating the contamination to cleaning it up — was one of the biggest challenges for the cleanup of Lot EFG.

“The city of Bothell is the government, and they work with Ecology and we have grants, and we are able to do some good cleanup at this particular project. In turn, the city of Bothell can develop Lot EFG and put it in good use for the Bothell residents,” Becker said.

Becker stressed that the cleanup and redevelopment of Lot EFG are two separate projects, with the development happening after cleanup, but that there is also significant coordination between them.

“The Department of Ecology and the city of Bothell has been talking about this — is cleanup first or development first, or do they happen at the same time?” Becker said. “It’s like chicken and egg things.”

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About the Contributor
Weiju Wang (he/him), Co-Copy Editor
Junior Weiju Wang is heading into his third year in Nordic and second year as a copy editor. He’s excited to work with everyone on staff and continue to contribute to the publication. Outside of Nordic, he participates in the school’s robotics team and a variety of hobbies, including language learning, coding, piano, and calligraphy.

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