Over the past two years on behalf of Mt. Baker Housing Association, the Aspect team, along with legal partner Perkins Coie, has led a unique multi-property acquisition, cleanup action and redevelopment project in south Seattle. This project spans five properties and will result in the construction of two mixed-use buildings for 150 units of affordable housing, as well as commercial use. Located in an underserved part of south Seattle near the Mount Baker Light Rail Station, the site’s soil and groundwater are contaminated from releases from previous dry cleaners and gas stations.
Aspect has led this first-in-state brownfields project in concert with Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) through a Prospective Purchaser Consent Decree (PPCD) and Redevelopment Opportunity Zone (ROZ). The PPCD and ROZ combination allows State grant funds to be directed to non-profit housing developers. To establish cleanup cost estimates, Aspect completed a multi-phased site characterization program for both environmental and geotechnical engineering purposes. Dozens of explorations have been completed on unused property, within operating businesses, and on rights-of-ways. We have coordinated schedules and permits and we’ve interacted with legal counsel, regulatory agencies, and the design team. Our work is critical to understanding, and then managing, the risks that come with soft ground and fill soils, slopes, high groundwater table, and contaminated soil and groundwater.
Part of our outreach to the MBHA community has involved some of its youngest members. We have coordinated with the Resident Services Coordinator to engage school-age residents through the field work happening in their neighborhood. Kids have observed our groundwater monitoring rounds as Dave Cook and Senior Geologist Jessica Smith explain what is happening and what we are looking for. They will continue these visits as the project progresses to share results from the sample and what that data tells them about how the contaminants are behaving underground.