Friday, June 3, 2016

Tacoma Smelter Plume: Recap of Tacoma Public Meetings

By Jill Reitz, Environmental Planner, Toxics Cleanup Program

This map shows the estimated highest arsenic levels
in the plume. A property is likely to have higher or
lower levels than what is shown on the map. The only way to know for sure is to sample the soil.
Last week, Ecology held two public meetings on the progress of the Tacoma Smelter Plume project.  We had a turnout of over 50 people who came out to learn about yard sampling and cleanup in Tacoma neighborhoods. Please see our slideshow presentation to learn more about the topics we covered. Here are a few of the common questions and answers that were discussed:

How do I sign up for soil sampling?
If you live in the most impacted areas of the plume (see map right), you likely qualify for one of our free soil sampling programs.  Please visit our sampling webpage to learn more and sign up.

Why do I have to wait for soil replacement?
There are around 1,100 properties slated for soil replacement.  We are planning to replace soil on an estimated 100 properties a year.  We are first working in areas with the highest percentage of properties that qualify for soil replacement.

At the meetings, we presented maps showing our schedule for soil replacement in the service area.  Please see the Study Area sequence map and the Tacoma sequence map for more information.

What are the health impacts of arsenic and lead?
Long-term exposure to small amounts of arsenic or lead on a regular basis can increase your risk for certain health problems.  Arsenic can cause cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  Lead can lead to developmental delays or behavioral problems.  Please visit our webpage on the health effects for more information.
What do I do if I have elevated arsenic but do not qualify for soil removal?
We recommend healthy actions to reduce your exposure to contaminated soil. This includes things like: 
Health Actions are simple things you can do to protect
yourself and your family.
  • Wash your hands before eating
  • Take your shoes off at the door
  • Vacuum at least once a week
  • Peel produce grown in your garden
Please visit the Healthy Actions webpage for more information. 

Follow our yard cleanup work:
June 14th-7:00-8:30 pm
McMurray Middle School
9329 SW Cemetery Rd, Vashon, WA, 998070
Questions about the Tacoma Smelter Plume project?
Please call the project line at (360) 407-7688 and press 2 for Tacoma Smelter Plume; email me at; or contact your local health department DirtAlert program.

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