Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New round of Everett smelter cleanup work starts soon

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

We're gearing up for a new round of work to clean up the legacy contamination left in Everett by the old Asarco smelter.

The Asarco smelter, which operated in Everett in the early 1900s, caused widespread arsenic and lead contamination in northeast Everett. In addition to contamination left behind on the old smelter property, particles emitted from the smelter’s stacks settled on the surrounding areas, contaminating soil.

The historic photo shows what the smelter looked like while operating. You can read more about the old smelter.

Ecology managed the cleanup of the most highly contaminated properties from 1999 through 2007.

In December 2009, the state won a bankruptcy settlement from Asarco. Settlement money – not taxpayer dollars — will pay for continued cleanup efforts in Everett and other locations contaminated by past Asarco operations.

In 2011, Ecology plans to:
  • Clean up about 40 properties that have already been sampled. We expect that work to start in early July and end in early November.

  • Map and sample another 71 properties, which will be cleaned up in 2012.
Sampling and cleanups for remaining properties are scheduled every year until 2019. The accompanying map shows where and when work will be done. Ecology will share information about future cleanup work as it becomes available.

Everett-area residents can hear more about this at 4:30 p.m. April 29 on KSER Radio (90.7 FM) in Everett.

Ecology’s Dave South, a veteran of Everett smelter cleanup work, will talk about our efforts and plans during the “Sound Living” show hosted by Ed Bremer. Dave will be joined by Jim White from the Washington Department of Health.

Watch our EcoConnect blog for updates on the Everett smelter work. If you have questions or comments, let us know! You can contact:

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