Boeing on Saturday took down the last remaining steel structures that supported Plant 2 for more than 75 years, making room for site restoration, including development of five acres of wildlife habitat.
Most of the old empty buildings formerly known as U.S. Air Force 17–but later called Plant 2 because it was Boeing’s second assembly site–were demolished this year in conjunction with Boeing’s commitment to environmental improvements that are vital to the Duwamish Waterway. Now a new chapter begins:
— A half mile of shoreline will be restored to its natural habitat.
— A resting area for migratory fish, such as salmon, will be developed.
— More than 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be excavated
and replaced with clean material.
— More than 85 percent of the building will be recycled or reused,
including steel beams, copper wiring, wood, and concrete.
— New stormwater treatment systems will operate at Plant 2 and North
Boeing Field to prevent recontamination of the waterway.
“We are committed to restoring habitat along the Duwamish and conducting environmental work that is vital to the ecosystem, nearby wetlands, the Puget Sound and to our community,” said Mary Armstrong, Boeing vice president of Environment, Health and Safety. “This is the largest planned habitat restoration in the Duwamish Waterway, and it will provide an important ecological resource to improve Puget Sound fish runs.”
The plant was important to the war effort in the 1940s, with 30,000 people building at times up to 300 aircraft a month, including the B-17 and B-52 bombers. It was known as the birthplace of America's airpower from World War II to the Cold War, and home to Rosie the Riveter–women working then-nontraditional factory jobs.
Boeing is working with local museums including the Museum of Flight and the Museum of History and Industry to ensure its important history will always be remembered.
In cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology, Boeing is already working on cleaning up the site. For example, more than 8 miles worth of concrete joint compounds manufactured with PCBs have been removed, and old stormwater drainage pipes have been cleaned. Dredging and soil remediation at Plant 2 is currently expected to begin in 2012, followed by the shoreline and habitat restoration.