Every day students park, play and walk on what was Seattle's largest landfill -- a place where household trash and industrial pollutants were mixed with unknown hazardous materials to create a class-four Superfund site.
All the UW property between Hec Edmundson Pavilion and U. Village, and between Lake Washington and Montlake Boulevard, was once the destination for 66 percent of Seattle's garbage, but now serves as a way for students to get out of the classroom and into the fresh air.
The landfill -- commonly referred to as the Montlake or Ravenna landfill -- was operated from 1926 to 1966, and was Seattle's largest dump until, in 1966, it was covered and the UW began to build. The Montlake parking lot was paved, the recreational sports facility and sports fields were created, and the driving range was erected.
In 1984, nearly 20 years after the landfill closed, the King County Department of Health conducted a study of the site and found high concentrations of pollutants. It also discovered that though the landfill had not spread since the 1960s, it was sinking into the swamp below. Additionally, the report stated there was no way of knowing what had been dumped in the site, and thus how to treat it.