Department of Ecology News Release - September 8, 2014

Arsenic cleanup starting at more northeast Everett homes
Soil removal underway at 19 residential yards; more coming in 2015

EVERETT – The ongoing cleanup of arsenic-contaminated soil in northeast Everett is moving forward at 19 homes.

Ecology contractors are working on residential yard cleanups along 6th, 7th and 8th streets between Wayne and Winton avenues north of Broadway. Crews will remove soil contaminated by fallout from the former Everett Smelter and later restore landscaping under agreements between Ecology and each property owner. Work is expected to continue into early 2015.

Ecology will analyze soil samples from about 50 additional residential yards next year as part of planning for cleanups in future years.

Contamination from arsenic, lead and other metals was detected in 1990 at the former Everett Smelter property near North Broadway and East Marine View Drive. Studies also showed that arsenic and lead from smokestack emissions settled onto the ground in the northeastern part of the city. About 500 private residences, three city parks, and commercial and industrial areas were impacted.

Funding for the residential cleanup work comes from a $34 million share of the state’s $188 million bankruptcy settlement in 2009 with Asarco Inc., the last owner of the Everett Smelter. Testing and cleanup work is free to property owners, and participation is voluntary.

People who live in the overall cleanup area should follow the soil safety guidelines recommended by Ecology and the Washington State Department of Health to protect themselves and their families from exposure. The primary route of exposure is through swallowing soil. Arsenic is not readily absorbed through the skin.

Guidelines include common hygiene practices of washing hands after playing or working in soil and before eating, leaving shoes at the door, and keeping homes swept and dusted.

People can also call the local information line at 425-530-5169 to speak with an Ecology staff member.

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Contact:

Meg Bommarito, Ecology project manager for the Everett Smelter cleanup, 425-649-7256

Robert Warren, regional section manager for Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program, 425-649-7054

Seth Preston, communications, 360-407-6848, @ecologyWA