Over the past thirty years roughly 9,600 homes have received noise mitigation retro-fits from the Port Of Seattle in the form of windows and insulation. These are generally known as ‘Port Packages’ and were granted in exchange for the homeowner signing an Avigation Easement.
The eligibility for a Port Package was determined by a formulation provided by the FAA. This formula creates what is known as a DNL 65 boundary, this is basically a geographical area around the airport where the average ‘noise’ level from aircraft is considered to be at or above 65 dbA.
Don’t worry if that last paragraph sounded like bureaucratic mumbo jumbo. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to get into all that here, but there are explainers for all of it elsewhere on this site. All you need to know right now is this: being inside the DNL65 doesn’t mean that your home is the noisiest. Lots of homes outside the boundary are still really noisy. All it means is that according to some ridiculous FAA rule you might be eligible for a Port Package. If you are? Great. If not? In the immortal words of Clint Eastwood, “fair’s got nuthin’ to do with it.”
Now many of these Port Packages have caused a variety of problems for both the property and the health of the occupants. The Port Of Seattle has accepted no responsibility for any of these problems, insisting that any difficulties be handled under the terms of the product warranties or under the guarantees provided by the installers who were contracted by the Port but not actual employees of the Port.
In short, many residents of SeaTac and Des Moines are now the owners of homes with defective windows and insulation. And many of these homes are unhealthy places which either require or will require expensive remediation in order to be made safe.
Where We Come In
We have a database of all the properties that received Port Packages. This includes the contractors used.
As of August 1, 2019 we have identified 175 properties with Port Packages that have developed problems that seem to indicate poor construction, installation and/or create unhealthy living conditions. And we have built this list strictly by word of mouth. This suggests that the problem rate is much higher than one would expect in a normal statistical sampling of 9,400 homes with properly delivered window and insulation systems.
We’ve also identified twenty six homes that should be eligible for Port Packages but for one reason or another have not received offers. We’ll address that elsewhere.
Why We’re Doing This
If this is the first time you’ve been to this site and this is the first page you landed on, I’ll give you the short answer: because no one else is. There are a ton of truly wrong things that the airport has done and continues to do to this area. And for a number of reasons, no one is doing or has done anything to fix the situation. There are a number of people (including people who work for the cities) working on ‘airport issues’, but they aren’t working on things like fixing substandard windows and inferior insulation products and the fact that your house now has mold because of an improper installation. Somebody should take responsibility.
How You Can Help
So the obvious thing we want to do is to identify as many homes as we can that have Port Packages with legitimate problems. And that’s where you come in.
1. We are asking everyone who has a Port Package and is having problems with their windows or insulation to contact us so that we can document the issues you’re experiencing. If you are agreeable, we would also like to arrange for a licensed home inspector to visit and take notes.
2. We are also asking everyone who does not have a Port Package but thinks that they should have been made eligible to also contact us. There are dozens of homes that should have been given the option to obtain Port Packages but for one reason or another never got them. (If you are unsure as to whether or not you are eligible, just ask us. The short answer is that, if your neighbours have them and you don’t you probably should have been eligible and we should investigate.)
3. Important: If you already have a Port Package and have noticed chronic respiratory issues that aren’t easily explained (asthma), we urge you to get your home inspected for mold and then contact us. Many of the insulation packages have led to mold problems which tend to only be discovered when the owner attempts to sell the home. And you can’t sell the home without getting mold remediation.
We want to make it clear that all we’re trying to do at this point is create a catalogue of homes with problems with as much empirical data as possible so that we can accurately represent the scope of the problem. We’re not promising you any relief at all. What we’re asking you to do is to help the community going forward. We need to know how many homes had poor installations and of what types? Who were the bad actors? What were the bad practices that seemed to lead to mold damage? That right there can help us to make sure that new installations going forward are more successful.
We also want to assure you that any information you provide will be kept confidential. We only need your address in order to cross reference with the Port’s list of properties so we can make our maps and build our reports. We will never publish any personally identifying information without your explicit permission.
If you can help with any of the above, please contact us.