image:filtered light in the forest

Toxics Cleanup Program


Former Orchard Lands

Photo:  Apple tree

From 1905 to 1947, many orchards used lead arsenate pesticides.  These pesticides left lasting arsenic and lead contamination in soils.  In parts of Washington, former orchards have been turned into neighborhoods, schools, and parks.  People living, working, and playing in these soils may be at risk.

  • Map of orchard acreage by county
  • Dirt Alert brochure: Former orchard lands
  • Dirt Alert En Espanol
  • Healthy Actions to reduce contact with soil

  • School and Park Cleanups

    Ecology funded cleanups at 26 schools and two parks in central and eastern Washington.  Click here  for a list of links to the cleanup websites for each one.

    Children play near the ground and put dirty hands in their mouths, putting them in contact with soil and dust that may be contaminated.  Their small, still developing bodies are also more susceptible damage from arsenic and lead exposure.  Ecology’s cleanups have helped protect thousands of children in the places they play.

    Staying Safe at Home

    You can take simple Healthy Actions to reduce your exposure.  If you’d like to know what’s in your dirt, Ecology has soil sampling brochures.  Check with your local planning department to find out if your neighborhood was built on former orchard lands.

    Photo:  old package of '"Corona Dry' Arsenate of Lead" -- courtesy of WA Dept. of Agriculture.