Magnuson Park Radiation

Seattle Parks has closed Magnuson Park for a radiation cleanup.  The area was used during World War II with a radium room built into one building.  The Washington State Department of Ecology assured the public that after the cleanup, there will be minimum radiation, equaling one percent of the radiation passengers receive on a cross country plane flight.

The cleanup work started in June 2013.  Some of the rooms were used in the 1940s and 1950s to paint airplane cockpit dials with glow-in-the-dark radium paint.  The radiological contamination was found in Buildings 2 and 27, former aircraft hangar areas.  The areas are now fenced, locked, and closed to public access.

The Arena Sports complex is considered to have no radiation above normal levels found naturally in rocks and soil.  After the cleanup, officials say it will be safe to be in all areas of the park for two hours a day, five days a week.  Some neighbors say that is not safe enough if children are playing in the area and could risk getting cancer. 

Other buildings have been converted to transitional housing for the homeless.  The Department of Ecology will continue investigating areas in the park for radiation safety.  They will also continue cleanup in outdoor areas, mainly along storm drains along the buildings.  The bottom of the lake near storm drain outfalls will also be monitored. 

The recent cleanup is also a result of new standards put in place.  The shed annex of Building 27, off of the Arena Sports complex is scheduled to be dismantled after the cleanup efforts are completed.  The state Department of Health is also supervising the cleanup and is in charge of regulating the radiation safety level.