Cost of cleaning up toxic Seattle home mounts over $300,000

SEATTLE - Eight days after environmental crews began a cleanup at a Green Lake home overflowing with dangerous toxic chemicals, work is still continuing and costs of the cleanup are mounting over $300,000.

Initially, Environmental Protection Agency officials thought they would find about 1,000 containers of toxic chemicals, but now the EPA's Jeffry Rodin says there's a lot more than that.

He says many more containers were discovered in the basement and he expects the work to remove, test and dispose of all the compounds will take through the end of the week.

"There's probably going to be over 3,000 containers, and I don't have the total bills but it will easily be over $300,000 - probably between $300,000 and $400,000," Rodin said.

A tip from the Seattle Fire Department led the EPA to the 6300 block of 5th Avenue NE, which is the home of a man in his 90s and his extensive collection of chemicals, including arsenic, sodium nitrate, benzidine and cadmium.

It's unclear if the homeowner will face any fines. Officials said it appears he has a background in chemistry and research, and some neighbors described him as "eccentric" or a "mad scientist."

"We've found chemicals in all hazard classses, and thankfully there's been no accidents or injuries on site. And we hope to keep it that way as we finish up this job," Rodin said. "Our goal is hopefully by the end of this week we'll be out of here, and we'll get all these samples processed."

Neighbors have been reassured the cleanup poses no public safety risk.

"We're monitoring the air constantly we have security here 24 hours when we are not here," Rodin said.