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The Washington State Department of Ecology and King County are taking proactive steps to help prevent toxic material from escaping the site of an old Kent auto-wrecking yard in the event of Green River flooding.
With the former site of Japanese Auto Wrecking at South 262nd Street just 50 yards from the river, the agencies are spending roughly $83,000 to prevent the spread of pollutants from heavily contaminated materials to surrounding properties that include agricultural lands, according to a Jan. 13 King County Department of Natural Resources media release.
The money funded installation of a barrier of “super sacks,” provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, between the wrecking yard and adjacent agricultural lands, along with a pollutant absorbing “boom” adjacent the barrier. Construction of the barrier was completed in November.
The westbound lanes of state Route 18 will remain closed until at least Wednesday, Jan. 20, after a second slide brought down approximately 1,500 cubic yards of mud, rocks and debris across all westbound lanes of the highway Thursday evening, Jan. 14.
The threat of flooding may have dropped throughout the Green River Valley, but the risk, though diminished, still remains and South Sound legislators are leading a charge to create a "Joint Underwriting Association" to guarantee local businesses can get insurance.
The American Red Cross can feed thousands of residents this winter if Green River flooding causes large evacuations in Kent, Auburn, Renton or Tukwila.