UPDATE from Seattle Parks & Recreation on 9/23: “Most the parking lot will be open and available; the workers will fence off only the area where they will be working.”
Enjoy Gas Works Park while you can, because parts of it and its parking lot will be closed to the public for several weeks starting Sept. 27, as Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) continues an ongoing study of offshore sediments, remnants of the contamination left in Lake Union’s sediments by the manufactured gas plant and other industrial facilities that once operated at the site.
(There is a reason it’s called Gas Works Park! See photo below.)
From the park’s “History” section:
This 20 acre point on Lake Union was cleared in 1906 to construct a plant to manufacture gas from coal – later converted to crude oil. Import of natural gas in the 1950′s made the plant obsolete. The city acquired the site for a park in 1962. The park was opened to the public in 1975. The boiler house has been converted to a picnic shelter with tables, fire grills and an open area. The former exhauster-compressor building, now a children’s play barn, features a maze of brightly painted machinery.
The environmental testing will account for heavy equipment drilling of groundwater monitoring wells, and that is scheduled to take place weekdays during daylight hours. While it’ll be noisy at times, Puget Sound Energy’s contractor will monitor sound levels. Vehicles will be coming and going during the testing.
Visitors to the park will still have access to the snack bar and restrooms, but they will be restricted from areas where drilling activities are taking place and areas where equipment is stored.
The City of Seattle (under the lead of SPU) and Puget Sound Energy are studying the park and the adjoining lake bottom to gather information needed to clean it up. SPU said, “the investigation and subsequent cleanup of contaminated offshore sediments is expected to take several years.”
More information about this cleanup is available on the Washington State Department of Ecology’s website.