News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Heavy white liquid spotted in Thornton Creek

October 31st, 2011 · 1 Comment

Last week, we had a potentially toxic reminder of the danger that runoff can cause to our own Thornton Creek.

On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Thornton Creek Alliance Vice President Ruth Williams said a heavy white liquid was observed running into the small daylighted area just north of Northeast 105th Street and Eighth Avenue Northeast. She tells friends of the alliance in an email:

Not having any other useful phone numbers with me I called 911.  The police arrived right away and they notified SPU and Ecology.  In the meantime, a contractor working at the condominiums nearby used a clean drop cloth to cover the outflow culvert which drains into the beaver pond across the street.  He and his crew did an admirable job of quickly covering the culvert and using rocks to hold it in place.  Nevertheless, some of the liquid found its way into the pond. 

The SPU investigator is Eric Autry (  His follow-up report is that the material was joint compound, which in an unauthorized action was rinsed into the parking lot drain by an employee of the construction crew.  The amount was about two cups.  According to the Material Safety Data Sheet this is not toxic to wildlife.  I guess we’ll find out.  Eric said there were live fish in that daylighted area.

A fine will be levied against the construction company, and the condo home-owners’ association will be required to  pay the cost of cleaning their 500 gallon detention tank which still contained some of the joint compound.  SPU has had the cleaning done already.

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