Department of Ecology News Release - June 18, 2015

Everett arsenic cleanup moves to Legion Park and more homes
June 23 community meeting will focus on park cleanup

EVERETT – The ongoing cleanup of arsenic-contaminated soil in northeastern Everett residential yards and parks is moving forward this summer at 20 homes and American Legion Memorial Park.

The Washington Department of Ecology will host a community meeting to talk with area residents about the start of park cleanup from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 23 in the American Legion Hall at American Legion Memorial Park, 145 Alverson St.

Soil samples collected in 2012 showed no immediate health threat to park users, but soil in some locations contained arsenic concentrations above state cleanup levels.

Soil cleanup slated for American Legion Memorial Park

Ecology and the city of Everett plan to clean up soil at American Legion Memorial Park, starting with the southern half that includes the Arboretum, which will close to the public on or shortly after July 14. The main park area and ball fields will remain open until after Labor Day in September, when work starts there.

The closures that start on Sept. 8 also will apply to the American Legion Hall, picnic shelter, playground, and restroom facilities. Parking will be moved to the overlook area. The golf course is not part of this cleanup.

Ecology contractors will remove one to two feet of soil from most of the park and replace it with clean soil.

Residential yard cleanups continue

Ecology contractors are setting up for the private yard cleanups along 5th, 6th, and 7th streets between Wayne and Waverly avenues north of Broadway. Crews will remove contaminated soil and later restore landscaping under agreements between Ecology and each property owner. The work is expected to continue into early 2016.

Ecology plans to continue to sample and analyze soil samples from about 300 additional properties as part of planning for cleanups in future years. Testing and cleanup work is free to property owners as funding is available. Participation is voluntary. 

Contamination stems from long ago

Emissions from the former Everett Smelter settled onto the ground a century ago in the northeastern part of the city. Soil contamination from arsenic, lead and other metals was first detected in the area in 1990.

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. 

The 2013 state Legislature set aside $4.75 million in Ecology’s capital budget for the park cleanups.

Contacts:

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

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

Sarah Reyes, Everett media relations, 425-257-7121