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Dept. of Ecology proposes delisting Outlook school site as a hazardous zone

OUTLOOK - The Washington State Department of Ecology believes that the Outlook Elementary School site no longer poses a threat to human health or the environment. The agency is now proposing to remove the property from its hazardous sites list.

During the removal of a 10,000-gallon underground heating oil storage tank in July 1990, a smaller heating oil tank was discovered. During the excavation, the fuel lines from the larger tank ruptured, causing heating oil to flow freely into the excavation.

Hazardous site experts were called in and shortly thereafter approximately 1,000 cubic yards of soil were removed, as well as more than 75 gallons of heating oil. In April 1991, three groundwater monitoring wells were installed at the site, a Sunnyside School District public school that is surrounded primarily by agricultural areas and several residences to the east, west and north.

In September 1991, the site underwent a site hazard assessment. It was ranked a 5 on a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 represents the highest relative risk and 5 the lowest. The Outlook site ranking was revised to a 3 on Aug. 18, 1994.

Department of Ecology officials said in March of this year they completed a detailed and thorough review of the site, based on information derived from all previous remediation efforts. On March 30, they issued a "no further action" letter.

Ecology officials say as a result of the remedial activities that have taken place at the Outlook site since 1990, they have determined that the site does not pose a threat to humans or the environment. They propose to remove the site from Ecology's hazardous sites list.

A 30-day public comment period on the proposal ends Jan. 7, 2005. Documents pertinent to the delisting are currently available at the DOE's central regional office in Yakima (15 W. Yakima Ave., Suite 200) and at the Sunnyside public library. All comments should be submitted to the site manager, Norm Hepner, at the Yakima DOE office.

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