Department of Ecology News Release - November 9, 2012


Cleanup agreement proposed for Maury Island Open Space

BELLEVUE – King County will study soil, groundwater and sediments on its Maury Island Open Space property to determine the full extent of contamination on the site, under a proposed legal agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Ecology seeks public comment on the agreement, called an Agreed Order, which also requires King County to identify cleanup options and develop a draft cleanup plan. A public participation plan, which outlines how Ecology will keep the public informed about site work, also is available for comment. The comment period runs from Nov. 12 through Dec. 17, 2012.

Comments should be sent to Ron Timm, site manager, Dept. of Ecology, 3190 160th Ave. SE, Bellevue, Wash., 98008, or by email to For questions, call 425-649-7185.

For more information on cleanup at the site, please see the Maury Island Open Space Site information, and Ecology’s current fact sheet.

The county purchased the 250-acre property in 2010 from CalPortland Co., which had conducted gravel mining on part of the property. Soil on Maury Island, including this site, contains lead, arsenic and other contamination from the Tacoma Smelter, which operated from 1890 to 1985.

These pollutants from the lead smelter’s air emissions settled over a 1,000 square mile area, known as the Tacoma Smelter Plume. Earlier Ecology investigations indicate that Maury Island is among the most significantly impacted areas within the plume.

People in the plume area are encouraged to follow healthy actions to reduce exposure to potentially contaminated soils. Exposure to contaminated soil happens when people accidentally swallow soil. Contamination is not readily absorbed through the skin. Taking simple steps like hand washing, leaving dirty shoes outside to keep dirt out of the home, and regular vacuuming and damp-dusting can reduce chances for exposure to contamination.

The county’s study also will evaluate whether past activities at the site, such as gravel mining and target shooting, contaminated the soil, groundwater, shoreline areas, or sediments of Puget Sound or other bodies of water on the site.


Media Contacts:

Larry Altose, Ecology media relations, 425-649-7009,

Ron Timm, Ecology cleanup site manager, 425-6497185,

Doug Williams, King County Dept. of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-296-8304,

For more information:

Maury Island Open Space site (

Tacoma Smelter Plume cleanup (

Ecology’s current fact sheet (

Ecology’s social media (