Monday, April 1, 2013

Tacoma Smelter Plume: Ruston/North Tacoma Public Meeting Recap

By Jill Jacobson, Yard Program Outreach Coordinator, Toxics Cleanup Program

Last Thursday night, we held our first of three public meetings for the Tacoma Smelter Plume Yard Program Design and Implementation Plan in the cafeteria of Point Defiance Elementary School. We had a good turnout for the meeting, with 43 people in attendance.

Most people came from the Ruston and Tacoma area to learn more about our new program to sample and clean up residential yards. We heard many questions about how people can find out if their yard is located in the plume and whether it qualifies for Yard Program sampling. Here are a few common questions and answers that were discussed:

How can I find out if I am located in the yard program service area?

Answer: You can view this map to determine if your house is in the service area.

What has already been done in the EPA study area in Ruston and north Tacoma and how is it different than what Ecology will do?

Answer: EPA cleaned up the worst contamination--arsenic levels of 230 parts per million (ppm) and above. However, Ecology has a lower action level of 100 ppm arsenic. We are offering cleanup for yards where the property has average arsenic between 100 and 230 ppm.

Where can I find my sampling results from EPA's work?

Answer: Visit the Arsenic in Soil (AREIS) database online. If you need help accessing the data, please contact Jill Jacobson at 360-407-6245 or

When will you begin work in my neighborhood?

Answer: We will begin sampling and cleanup this year. At this time, it is hard to predict when we will begin work in your area. It depends on a number of factors, including how many people choose to participate in the program. Please see the yard program sequencing map on page 3 of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

You can find more information about the above topics in the FAQ and on our webpage.

Upcoming Meetings

We are just about one-third of the way through the public comment period, which ends April 29th. The upcoming public meetings:
  • Wednesday, April 3rd, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the McMurray Middle School Cafeteria, 9329 SW Cemetery Rd., Vashon Island
  • Thursday, April 11th, 2013, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson High School Cafeteria, 1202 N. Orchard St., Tacoma
  • *Technical Workshop, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Join us before the open house on April 11th to learn more about the science behind Ecology’s decisions.

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