We’re removing nearly 2,000 toxic-coated pilings from the mouth of the Duwamish River 

Our Solid Waste Division is conducting a major cleanup project where the Duwamish River reaches Elliott Bay, removing a derelict dock and nearly 2,000 toxic-coated pilings from the Harbor Island shoreline.  

Crews are operating heavy machinery aboard a barge while divers excavate those pilings that are broken below water. The $8.1 million project contributes to a regional partnership that is improving water quality and marine habitat.  

After completing in-water work, the contractor crews will remove the concrete bulkhead and other dock components on land and stabilize the shoreline. Construction activities are expected to be completed by the end of September. 

The pilings are covered in creosote, a toxic substance that builders once applied to timber pilings to prevent them from deteriorating. Removing the 1,800 pilings from the Harbor Island shoreline will have an immediate positive effect on water quality and marine habitat.  

Here is a shot before the cleanup work started in the Lower Duwamish River and then after the visible portion of the old toxic dock was removed.

We invited KING 5 News reporter Erica Zucco to the site to see how the highly trained crews are conducting the cleanup on open water.  

Improving habitat at the mouth of the Duwamish River builds on the progress we’ve made throughout the Green-Duwamish Watershed, including the successful habitat restoration at a site now known as čakwab, pronounced “chock-wob.” King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division, meanwhile, is completing a new station in Georgetown that will better protect the Duwamish River and Puget Sound from polluted stormwater as the region experiences more severe rain events due to climate change. 

You can track our progress in the Green-Duwamish Watershed and throughout King County at Tracks, our new interactive map. 

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