Reducing Our Environmental Footprint
Commitment to Remediation
PHoto: Simi Valley Acorn, used with permission
Boeing is committed to cleaning up locations affected by past business practices. We work closely with national, state and local regulatory agencies, and strive to be transparent in communicating with community members, government regulators and other stakeholders.
Our remediation activities include cleaning up former manufacturing facilities and sites where Boeing, or companies it has acquired, shipped chemicals and other waste for treatment, storage or disposal. In some cases, waste-processing facilities that used treatment methods deemed acceptable in the past are being cleaned up to meet or exceed current environmental standards that are more stringent.
Our commitment to remediation is demonstrating progress as Boeing completed its obligations at 12 sites in 2009.
Boeing considers the environmental effects of our cleanup programs, and we use innovative technologies where appropriate.
For example, at a former rocket testing facility at Rancho Cordova, Calif., Boeing technicians infuse extracted groundwater with concentrated food-grade vinegar. This accelerates the process of reducing chemicals from previous rocket tests in the ground water.
On our property along the Duwamish Waterway in Seattle, we have added sugar food products to groundwater to encourage naturally occurring microorganisms to degrade and eliminate solvents in the ground.
Photo: Lower Duwamish Waterway Group, used with permission
Duwamish Waterway Cleanup
Boeing intends to restore fish habitat and shoreline along a stretch of the Duwamish, an industrial waterway in Seattle.
Boeing's operations along the Duwamish began approximately 75 years ago. To produce B-17s for World War II, Boeing expanded its Plant 2 facility and constructed factory space on pilings above the waterway.
We plan to demolish the factory, which has not been used for airplane production for more than 40 years. We will remove the pilings, restore the shoreline, create nearly 5 acres (2 hectares) of wetlands and enhance habitat for migratory fish.
Boeing will excavate more than 100,000 cubic yards (76,000 cubic meters) of sediment from the waterway, replacing it with clean fill. The project, which will take several years to complete, will reduce the level of PCBs, metals and other chemicals in the waterway.
Boeing, the city of Seattle, the Port of Seattle and King County are working together to clean the Duwamish. Since January 2010, Boeing has reached separate agreements with Seattle, King County, the state of Washington, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Interior, and the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Indian tribes to restore major parcels along the Duwamish. The cleanup plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice in early May 2010.
More than 100 years of use by multiple industries – including maritime, electrical power generating, steel forging, cement manufacturing and aerospace – resulted in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listing the Lower Duwamish Waterway as a Superfund site. Other factors contributing to pollution of the Duwamish include storm water coming off freeways and major roads along the waterway.
Santa Susana Cleanup
Photo: Boeing Photo
Santa Susana Field Laboratory, located northwest of Los Angeles, is home to several endangered species and a wide assortment of plants and wildlife. The site has a rich history. A former federal rocket engine and nuclear research facility, the site has supported virtually every major U.S. space program from the first manned Mercury flights through the Apollo moon landings and the current space shuttle fleet. Boeing obtained the site in 1996 as part of the acquisition of the aerospace and defense divisions of Rockwell International.
Research and testing activities began at the site in the early 1950s. Nuclear energy research concluded in 1988, and the last rocket engine test occurred in 2006. As a result of tests and research conducted on behalf of the federal government, portions of the site are contaminated with various chemical and low-level radioactive constituents.
Boeing remains committed to cleaning up our 2,350-acre (916.5-hectare) portion of the site for future generations. Working with the U.S. government (which owns and leases portions of the site), we have made significant progress, including removing 50,000 cubic yards (38,000 cubic meters) of contaminated soil and debris, analyzing more than 10,000 soil and groundwater samples, installing more than 400 monitoring wells on and offsite, and upgrading a ground water extraction treatment system.
In 2007, the California Legislature passed a special statute that applies solely to Santa Susana and changes the normal cleanup process that applies elsewhere in the state. In November 2009, Boeing asked a federal court to overturn the law and apply the same cleanup process to Santa Susana that applies to other sites in California. We are continuing cleanup efforts while the federal court decides the case.
One of our continuing areas of focus at Santa Susana is meeting stringent requirements for storm water quality. To meet permit limits, many of which require storm water to be cleaner than natural background levels (which, in some cases means meeting or exceeding standards for drinking water), we have installed sophisticated filtering systems to clean storm water before it leaves the site. This involves collecting storm water runoff in holding tanks and treating it with advanced filters and chemicals before release.
Runoff from Santa Susana complied with these standards 96 percent of the time in 2009. Due to heavy rains in the fall of 2009, on several occasions storm water exceeded permit requirements for parts per billion of dissolved nitrates, ph, dioxins and metals.
In April 2010, the Los Angels Regional Water Quality Control Board announced a proposed settlement with Boeing regarding storm water permit violations that occurred from 2006 through 2009. Under the proposed agreement, which is subject to court approval, Boeing will pay $300,000 to a program selected by the water board to develop a regional approach to storm water management. Boeing also will pay $200,000 in fines.
Boeing continues to focus on technical solutions to enhance the quality of storm water, making progress on the cleanup of Santa Susana, and protecting the endangered species and wide assortment of plants and wildlife that enrich the site.