Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tacoma Smelter Plume: Yard cleanup program comment period starts today

By Hannah Aoyagi, Tacoma Smelter Plume project, Toxics Cleanup Program
Tacoma Smelter Plume Residential Yard Sampling and
Cleanup Program Service Area

Some yards in Ruston, west Tacoma, and south Vashon-Maury Island could have high levels of arsenic and lead from the former Asarco smelter in Tacoma. Ecology has a new program to find and clean up these yards. We call it the Residential Yard Sampling and Cleanup Program, or "Yard Program."

How the Yard Program Works

Within our program service area, we will offer soil sampling for around 4,600 yards. We will clean up areas of yards with arsenic at or above 90 parts per million (ppm) or lead at or above 500 ppm. This is a voluntary program, but we do strongly encourage participation.

Where and when does the Yard Program begin?

This year, we will start cleaning up yards inside the Ruston/North Tacoma Study Area (or EPA Study Area, as shown on the map). This one square mile area is part of the Asarco smelter Superfund site. Most yards have already been sampled and many were cleaned up. However, many yards still have average arsenic over 90 ppm and we plan to offer cleanup for those yards. Residents of this area can find their property information on our soil arsenic database.

Later this year, we will likely begin soil sampling on southern Vashon-Maury Island and in west Tacoma. Homeowners: If you would like to give Ecology permission to sample your yard, you can fill out an access form now.

March 14 - April 29 Comment Period

We are looking for comments on the draft design document for the Yard Program. We would like to hear your questions and concerns about the program. You can find more information and links to fact sheets and the design document on our comment period web page.

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