Areawide Soil Contamination Project History
soil contamination is low-to-moderate arsenic and lead soil contamination spread
over a large area. The area could range from several hundred acres to many
square miles. In Washington State, area-wide contamination comes from three
main historical sources:
- Emissions from metal smelters in Everett and Tacoma.
- Use of arsenical pesticides, especially on orchards.
- Combustion of leaded gasoline.
History of the Area-Wide Soil Contamination Task Force
In the early 2000’s, the State of Washington brought together a task force to
develop a strategy for dealing with “area-wide” soil contamination. In 2003,
the task force put out a report with their recommendations. Ideas included
educating the public, protecting children, and cleaning up areas of highest
Ecology is using many of these ideas for
the Everett Smelter
, and at
schools built on
former orchard lands
Area-Wide Soil Contamination Toolbox
This toolbox provides background on how Ecology is addressing area-wide
arsenic and lead. The Area-Wide Soil Contamination Task Force helped to develop
these maps and tools. Please note that this is historical information
and may not be up-to-date.
- Background information on area-wide
Maps and other information describing the
location and extent of area-wide soil contamination in Washington.
This information is organized according to the three main sources of
area-wide soil contamination:
- historical emissions from metal smelters located in Tacoma, Harbor Island,
Everett, Northport, and Trail, BC;
- historical use of lead arsenate pesticides on apple and pear trees; and
- emissions from combustion of leaded gasoline.
- Tools for conducting individual
property evaluations to determine whether there is the potential for
exposure to elevated levels of lead and arsenic in soil. These tools
- Individual Property Evaluation Flowchart – to determine whether arsenic
and lead soil contamination is likely to be present in soil on a property
using information about the property’s location and its land-use and
- Qualitative Evaluation Checklist for Understanding Potential Exposures to
Arsenic and Lead in Soil
– to determine whether there is potential exposure on the property and
inform decisions about whether to test soils and/or implement protection
measures to reduce potential exposure, and
- Sampling Guidance
– to provide instructions for how to collect and analyze soil samples for
arsenic and lead at three types of land uses: child-use areas, residential
properties, and commercial properties.
Information on health risks
from exposure to low-to-moderate levels of arsenic and lead in soil.
- Examples of individual protection
measures that individuals can use to limit potential exposure to
arsenic and lead in soil. In particular, individual protection measures are
designed to minimize the potential for exposure of children, gardeners, and
other adults who frequently work in soil. This toolbox contains four sets
of example practices:
- Personal hygiene practices and other guidelines for how residents may reduce
potential exposure, developed by Public Health – Seattle & King County
- Actions that schools may use to reduce potential exposure of schoolchildren,
developed by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
- Worker protection guidelines, developed by the Snohomish Health District for
the Everett smelter area
- Guidelines for gardening on soils that may contain elevated levels of
arsenic and lead, developed by the Washington State University, Agricultural
- Information describing the range of
that might be taken to respond to area-wide soil contamination and providing
guidance on how to implement those protective measures in an effective,
practical, and affordable manner.
- Contact information
for Federal, State, and local agencies that are available to answer questions
and provide additional help.