A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Contractors cleaning up decades-old chemical spill at former Oroweat Bakery Outlet site

November 28th, 2012 · Comments

Lots of trucks and big containers have been at the former Oroweat Bakery Outlet site at the corner of NW 70th Street and Greenwood Avenue North for the last couple of weeks. Mike V sent us this photo that he took from the second floor of a building across the street.

Crews are cleaning up soil that is contaminated from when a dry cleaning chemical distribution facility operated on the site, between 1964 and 1983. Piper Roelen with Landau Associates tells us the soil is contaminated with tetrachloroethene.

Roelen says the property owner is conducting the cleanup under the Department of Ecology’s Voluntary Cleanup Program. Most of the asphalt that currently covers the entire site will remain in place, and will be repaired where crews are drilling and excavating. Roelen says the soil is contaminated as deep as 30 feet in some places.

He says TRS Group, Inc.’s cleanup involves “heating of the subsurface soil to volatilize the contamination through a process called electrical resistance heating (ERH). The contamination is then drawn to the surface as a vapor through vacuum extraction, then captured from the vapor stream with activated carbon. The carbon is then shipped to a facility where the contamination is destroyed through thermal desorption (high heat destruction).”

The cleanup is expected to last until early spring. He says the property will likely be sold after the cleanup.

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  1. Neighbor says:

    Yep — there’s no way they’d find a buyer without a clean environmental site assessment. Best of luck! We’re crossing our fingers for good things to come on that corner.

  2. Chris Brown says:

    We’d like to see a city park on that lot, when the cleanup has been finished. BTW, we live just to the west of the site – that’s our small gray house you can see – just above all the construction vehicles – in the photo!

  3. Tiktok says:

    So a *bakery* was operating on top of a decades old chemical spill?

  4. Whopper says:


    Imagine condos….

  5. Randy says:

    Nice, let’s get this lot fixed up. I’d like to see a sushi or steak restaurant!!

  6. Zoolander says:

    Tiktok-the outlet was not a bakery, just a store. A food store, granted, but no cooking on that site.

  7. phinneyfun says:

    Yes, to underscore Zoolander’s statement, the outlet was nothing more than trucks coming in and out of a garage and racks in a small store out front with packaged goods. Nothing like produce or the like out in the open.

  8. Seattle Mike says:

    Bring back the outlet store! Great prices on breads, cookies, all sorts of stuff.

    I know, I know. It won’t happen. Fine. How about a gym? (Just not a freakin’ nail salon, okay?)

  9. EnduroDriver says:

    I’m assuming it’s federal law that every nail salon must be decorated with Nagel prints but I certainly can’t find it. It must have been part of an economic stimulus package to boost the 80’s graphic arts industry.

    And BTW all you dry cleaners out there trying to muscle in on the Nagel artwork fad….. I’m watching you!!!

  10. Number Six says:

    Why did they pave over the site (following demolition of the Orowheat stuff) if they were going to have to tear a lot of it back up to remediate the cleanup? Or did someone spill the beans AFTER the paving was all done?

  11. B-Money says:

    A lot of times properties that are contaminated are paved to “cap” the contamination until a more specific remediation plan is developed. I know Piper personally, he’s an outstanding remediation engineer.

  12. Richard says:

    To answer Seattle Mike: If only we could bring back the Orowheat store. Secret Seattle. I’m just glad that the “day old” was still much fresher than the chain stores ever were. Imagine if it had time to absorb toxins before I bought it.