Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tacoma Smelter Plume: What park cleanup looks like

By John Zinza, Field Coordinator, Toxics Cleanup Program

We're on week two of our schedule for cleaning up contaminated soil at seven parks and making good progress.

This work is part of the Soil Safety Program, which cleans up park, school, childcare, and camp play areas contaminated by air emissions from the old Asarco smelter in Tacoma.

To give you an idea of what our program looks like, here is a series of photos from Dottie Harper Park in Burien...

Under the play structures did not need any cleanup, but children also play in the surrounding grassy area. We dug up the contaminated soils and this picture shows the new soil we put in, all ready to be seeded with grass.

Digging up contaminated soil around a popular sculpture.

We don't normally clean up wooded areas of parks because digging can damage trees. In this case, kids often use the slide (on the right edge of the photo). There is a lot of exposed dirt, so we covered it with bark to reduce possible exposure.

The bark is all finished. The slide in the background has a black fabric liner underneath and will soon be getting play chips. The play chips look different and are better for fall protection than the landscaping bark you see here.

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