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Barb Graff, Director

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Hazards
Flood
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HazMat

Seattle has not has a catastrophic hazardous materials incident, but it is a major transportation hub and houses facilities that use them so we remain vulnerable. Seattle has a several sites on the Superfund list. These are chronic problems rather that sudden releases and are addressed through federal programs.

Major Incidents

Minor incidents occur every year, but only one stands out as one approaching a disaster as that fits more into the fire category.

Year

Event

Location

Impacts

1975

Gasoline Explosion

Alaskan Way Viaduct

Gas tanker crashed and caught fire. Several buildings damaged. No casualties.

Issues to Note

The vast majority of accidents in the King County (90%) occur at fixed facilities, but many of the complex ones happen during transport. If the chemical finds its way into the sewer system, treatment facilities or sewer overflow locations could become additional damage locations.

Hazardous materials releases are common secondary incidents for other hazards like earthquakes and floods. They require a complex response that can seriously impede efforts to reduce primary disaster impacts when resources are already thin.

The economic effects extend beyond immediate damage because chemicals produce a high amount of anxiety. A serious event would probably lower property values in the surrounding area, compounding the damage into the future. They can also cause extreme environmental damage, especially if chemicals enter the water or sewer systems where they can spread and leach into groundwater or discharge into bodies of water.

On the Web

Tox Town - An interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances, your health, and the environment. Tox Town uses color, graphics, sounds and animation to add interest to learning about connections between chemicals, the environment, and the public's health.

Toxic Hazards - Seattle / King County Public Health site covering toxic hazards and substances.


During an emergency, go to www.seattle.gov for the latest information.


Emergency:
Dial 911
Non-Emergency Police:
206-625-5011
Non-Emergency Fire:
206-386-1400


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