Cars move along Frank Waters Road next to a contaminated land site purchased by Robinett Brothers on Tuesday, in Stanwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Cars move along Frank Waters Road next to a contaminated land site purchased by Robinett Brothers on Tuesday, in Stanwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

County settles lawsuit over PCBs at former landfill near Lake Goodwin

At the landfill, Snohomish County accepted waste that may have included PCBs decades ago. The county’s insurer agreed to pay $415,000.

STANWOOD — Snohomish County’s insurer agreed in November to pay $415,000 for alleged contamination of land bought by a luxury homebuilder next to an old landfill near Lake Goodwin.

In exchange, the county will retain the potentially contaminated land.

Robinett Brothers has built communities of homes throughout Snohomish County, including Cartwright Meadows in Stanwood, Mountain View Estates in Lake Stevens and Spyglass Ridge in Monroe.

In 2018, the developer bought property on Frank Waters Road, west of Lake Goodwin, according to filings with the county assessor. Just south of that land is the former Lake Goodwin landfill that has been out of commission for decades, owned by the county.

At the landfill, the county accepted solid waste for disposal that may have included polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, alleged a lawsuit Robinett filed in June 2021 against Snohomish County. The federal government banned the production of PCBs in the late 1970s because they caused cancer.

The county may have also disposed waste containing pesticides and polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Found in coal, crude oil and gasoline, the federal Environmental Protection Agency believes some of the chemicals can cause cancer.

The landfill site is awaiting cleanup due to the suspected contamination, according to the state Department of Ecology. The agency suspects contaminants, including PCBs, are in the soil, with other contaminants possible in the groundwater.

Contamination was confirmed to exceed state Model Toxic Controls Act cleanup levels at the Lake Goodwin property, according to Ecology.

The Robinett lawsuit also alleged county documents indicate nitrate contamination above cleanup levels. Groundwater at the property also reportedly exceeded quality standards for sodium and arsenic.

The complaint claimed the contaminated groundwater flowed north of the landfill property onto Robinett land. The developer believed the county hadn’t tested the soil or groundwater at the old landfill for three decades.

In cases involving the Model Toxics Control Act, the county’s insurer covers all of the liability, Snohomish County Prosecutor Jason Cummings said. So the insurance company handled the Robinett case.

They eventually negotiated a settlement signed in November for $415,000. The settlement notes it is “not intended to be, and shall not be construed as, an admission of liability.” The money isn’t paid for with taxpayer dollars.

As part of the agreement, Robinett had to give the property back to Snohomish County as a vacant buffer to the former landfill for any future development, said Cummings, who was the chief civil deputy prosecutor before voters elected him to the top job last year.

“Owning that buffer is definitely a positive for us,” county spokesperson Kent Patton said. “We don’t have any angst about it.”

Through its attorney, John Houlihan, the developer declined to comment.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Photo by David Welton
A federal grant will help pay for the cost of adding a charging station to the Clinton ferry terminal.
Federal money to help electrify Clinton ferry dock

The Federal Transit Administration awarded state ferries a $4.9 million grant to help electrify the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

Community Transit is leasing a 60-foot articulated BYD battery electric bus this year as an early step in the zero emission planning process. (Community Transit)
Community Transit testing 60-foot electric bus

The agency leased the BYD K11M for $132,000 this year as the first step in its zero-emission planning process.

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Amid patient woes, CHC of Snohomish County staffers push for a union

Doctors and nurse practitioners are worried about providers being shut out from clinical decisions, which hurts patient care.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Public school enrollment still down, even as rural districts grow

Smaller districts in Snohomish County seem to be recovering more quickly — and gaining students — than their urban counterparts.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A holiday for Lunar New Year, a return of green and white license plates

It’s Day 29. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

FILE - This scanning electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows rod-shaped Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. U.S. health officials are advising people to stop using the over-the-counter eye drops, EzriCare Artificial Tears, that have been linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant infections of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday night, Feb. 1, 2023, sent a health alert to physicians, saying the outbreak includes at least 55 people in 12 states. One died. (Janice Haney Carr/CDC via AP)
Eye drops linked to Snohomish County man’s death

Amid dozens of non-fatal infections, federal health leaders this week urged people to stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears.

Switzerland delegate Markus Herrmann listens while 12th grade students speak with him during a special event set up for their AP Comparative Government class at Glacier Peak High School on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
European delegates talk American culture with Glacier Peak students

Representatives from 18 different EU countries made a stop in Snohomish during their US tour.

Charlie Pancerzewski (Courtesy of Pancerzewski family)
Mukilteo citizen watchdog, 83, spoke for ‘the facts and the truth’

“It is fitting that the public see (Charlie Pancerzewski’s) name when they get up to the podium for public comment,” the mayor said.

A suspect removes a rifle bag from a broken rear window of a Seattle police car on May 30 in downtown Seattle. An Everett man, Jacob D. Little, 24, has been charged with the theft of the high-powered rifle stolen from the car. This image is from the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. 20200904
Everett man sentenced for stealing police gun in Seattle protest

Jacob Little, 26, now faces second-degree murder charges for allegedly killing a man in Renton in August 2020.

Most Read