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County to clean up Sunnyside property

Yakima County's use of land it owned in Sunnyside several years ago led to contamination that's now being addressed.

That was the result of action yesterday, Tuesday, by Yakima County commissioners.

The former county property on Decatur Avenue was obtained by Cascade Natural Gas, which has since closed its Sunnyside office.

County Commissioner Rand Elliott says clean-up and groundwater monitoring is required at the site because there was "contamination that's attributed to the old county use."

Elliott noted the property was at one time used as a county shop or road crew facility. He says the contamination likely resulted from maintenance years ago on county equipment, such as oil changes.

"Some of that is left in the shallow groundwater and it's not dissipating as fast as we would like," he says.

Yesterday's action authorized the county to sign an agreement with Seattle-based Pacific Groundwater Group at a cost of $30,825.

The company's work here will include installing a monitoring well and collecting groundwater samples, as well as remediation efforts to address the contamination.

The issue came to the fore because Cascade Natural Gas is attempting to sell its Sunnyside property, according to Sunnyside Interim City Manager Frank Sweet.

The agreement inked yesterday, says Elliott, is one step in addressing a longstanding issue.

"There's been a longstanding struggle with the Department of Ecology and Cascade Natural Gas," he said. "They're asking us to take some steps to speed up the process."

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