Cleaning up: In the footprint of an old corner gas station

One of the largest categories of cleanup sites, statewide, is former gas stations. Old-school underground storage tanks were prone to leaking into the surrounding soil. Tank owners today must follow laws and regulations to prevent leaks and spills. Many of the places once occupied by a corner gas station have since become desirable redevelopment locations. We're taking public comment and inviting you to a community meeting about one example that’s unfolding now in Seattle.

Cars parked in the parking lot of the gas station

A row of convenience shops at the station, toward the end of its heyday.

First, some history

There was a gas station operating under the Texaco brand at Queen Anne Avenue North and Roy Street from 1927 to 1993. After the pumps closed, a deli operated on the property to 2018.

In 1986 Ecology responded to complaints of gasoline odors at the adjacent Monterey Apartments. An investigation we conducted from 1986 to 1990 revealed the gas station as the source. We installed two wells to remove petroleum from groundwater.

When the pumps closed and the underground tanks were removed in 1993, we found soil and groundwater contamination. We installed and operated a system from 1993 to 1997 to extract vapor and recover groundwater.

Texaco’s successor, Chevron Environmental Management Company (CEMC), upgraded and operated the system from 2003 to 2008 under Ecology’s Voluntary Cleanup Program. CEMC also mapped areas where low levels of contaminated groundwater extend into part of the surrounding neighborhood. Buildings over this plume and adjacent to the former gas station -- the Del Roy and Monterey apartments -- received vapor tests in 2009 that found indoor air quality within health thresholds.

Aerial map of neighborhood showing the contamination plume flowing east of the Texaco station

Roystone on Queen Anne, LLC plans to clean up contamination at the former Texaco station. Chevron Environmental Management Co. will take steps needed for final cleanup of the entire site.

This corner’s about to change

Fast forward to 2019, and a developer named Roystone on Queen Anne, LLC has acquired the old gas station lot. The company plans to re-develop the vacant property into a multistory mixed-use building.

We’ve negotiated an agreement with both companies. Roystone will clean up contaminated soil and groundwater on its property to meet state cleanup standards in conjunction with excavation for its project. That cleanup is called an interim action.

Meanwhile, CEMC will proceed with the steps needed for final cleanup of the entire site. These include a site assessment, called a remedial investigation, a feasibility study of cleanup options, and a draft cleanup action plan.

What’s your take?

Empty parking lot of the former Texaco station.

These empty shops will give way to cleanup work as part of re-developing the site into a multi-story mixed-use building

We’re inviting you to learn about these plans and tell us your thoughts about them. We’re taking comments through July 23, 2019 on the interim action plan, a legal agreement called an agreed order with the two companies, environmental reviews we’ve conducted, and a proposed public participation plan, which describes how we’ll work to inform people about the cleanup.

Our website has links to all of these documents, to our online public comment app for this site, and contacts for answers to questions. We’ve also placed copies of the documents at Seattle Public Library’s Queen Anne Branch, 400 W. Garfield St.

Pleased to see you

We’re hosting a public meeting to provide information, answer questions about the site and the cleanup process, and to take comments. The meeting will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.,  June 27, 2019 at the Maxwell Hotel, 300 Roy St. in Seattle.

Cleanup site information