Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tacoma Smelter Plume: Vashon-Maury Island Public Meeting Recap

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

Sequence of the Yard Program on Vashon-Maury Island
Last night, we held the second of three public meetings for the Tacoma Smelter Plume Yard Program Design and Implementation Plan in the cafeteria of the McMurray Middle School on Vashon Island. We had a turnout of 15 people, a lot smaller than our previous meeting on Vashon where around 200 people were in attendance.

Most people came from southern Vashon-Maury Island to learn more about our new program to sample and cleanup residential yards. We heard many questions about when Ecology would begin work on Vashon-Maury Island. 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 on Vashon Island?

Answer: You can view the map (above right) to determine if your house is in the Tacoma Smelter Plume service area of Southern Vashon-Maury Island.

When will you begin work on Vashon and how long until you reach my neighborhood?

Answer: At this time, we plan to begin sampling on Vashon-Maury Island in early 2014 in the area marked letter A. Once we complete sampling on A, we will begin sampling in the area marked B. Please see the yard program sequencing map on page 3 of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information about our timeline.

I have small children or grandchildren who play in my yard, what can I do to reduce their risk?

Answer: Ecology recommends taking "healthy actions" to reduce your contact with the soil. Although there is not an immediate health risk, Ecology is concerned about long-term exposure to arsenic and lead in soil. Healthy actions include washing hands after working in the yard and taking shoes off at the door.

Can Ecology sample my yard sooner?

Answer: Please let us know if you are concerned about small children, or if you are landscaping or installing a new garden soon. In some cases, we might be able to sample your yard sooner.

You can find more information about the above topics on our webpage and our fact sheet on the Yard Program in Southern Vashon-Maury Island. Please help us spread the word to your neighbors that Ecology is accepting access agreements for soil sampling now.

Upcoming Meeting

We have about three weeks left in the public comment period, which ends April 29th. We have one more public meeting coming up next week:
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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