Cleaning up: Making progress in downtown Bothell

In the early 2000s, the City of Bothell began work on its downtown revitalization plan. A key part of the plan is the cleanup and redevelopment of parcels where historical uses and industries contaminated the soil and groundwater, posing possible risks to people’s health and the nearby Sammamish River.

Since 2006, we’ve worked with the city on this area-wide cleanup. We provide cleanup grants and oversight for six sites that the city is leading. There are also 14 other sites that the city is not directly involved with that are being cleaned up independently through the Voluntary Cleanup Program.

This winter marks several milestones, with three sites where we’re proposing removal of environmental restrictions and two others ready to start cleanup actions.

Removing restrictions

Sometimes we place environmental covenants on cleanup sites. These covenants are legal agreements signed by landowners to restrict certain uses or activities on their properties — such as removing soil or extracting groundwater — in order to limit exposure to contamination. Removing these covenants means cleanup has progressed enough to safely allow these activities again.

Aerial photo of downtown Bothell, with SR 522 running horizontally across the image. Three parcels are outlined, each straddling SR 522.

We're proposing the removal of environmental covenants at three sites: Bothell Paint & Decorating, Bothell Former Hertz, and Bothell Landing.

There are three sites in downtown Bothell that were historically contaminated by petroleum products and arsenic where we and the city now propose to remove environmental covenants. These covenants were put in place in May 2020 to prevent soil disturbance and use of groundwater and to control vapor. All of these sites are currently owned by the City of Bothell.

  • The former Hertz site (also known as Bothell Former Hertz, Aarenco, or AA Rentals of Bothell) — Past property use included automobile repair and dealerships, fueling, and equipment rental.
  • Bothell Paint and Decorating — Historical operations on the property included automobile repair and dealerships, retail paint and flooring, and sandblasting.
  • Bothell Landing — A strip mall, restaurants, and historic gas stations with multiple abandoned petroleum underground storage tanks formerly occupied this site.

We invite you to give us feedback on these removals during their public comment period, which runs from Jan. 19 to Feb. 7.

Getting started

Downtown Bothell also has two sites that are ready to begin cleanup actions. Earlier this winter, both went through public comment periods on the cleanup action plans and related documents.

  • Bothell Riverside HVOC — This is the site of a former machine maintenance shop. Soil and groundwater at the site are contaminated with chlorinated solvents (Halogenated Volatile Organic Compounds). Cleanup actions will include a soil-vapor-extraction system and a groundwater circulation and treatment system.    
  • Ultra Custom Care Cleaners — Past property use included several dry-cleaning businesses. The main contaminant of concern is the dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene, “perc,” or PCE) and its toxic breakdown products, which are present in the soil and groundwater. Cleanup activities will include excavating contaminated soil and treating the groundwater with injections of substances that will trap and/or degrade the contaminants.