Everett Smelter Cleanup
The Everett Smelter, built by Puget Sound Reduction Company,
operated from 1894 to 1912. ASARCO Incorporated (Asarco)
purchased the property in 1903 and operated the smelter until
1912 when it was demolished. The property was sold in various parcels, with the last
parcel owned by Asarco being sold in 1936. Homes were built on
many of the parcels. The highway interchange between East Marine
View Drive and State Route 529 was built across the old smelter
site in the 1950s.
The site includes the industrial area along the Snohomish River.
The site is divided into the Upland Area and the Lowland Area.
The Upland Area is in residential, light commercial, and
recreational use. The Lowland Area is used for industrial
Ecology discovered the contamination in 1990. A local company
notified Ecology that they had found elevated concentrations of
arsenic and lead in the soil and groundwater during an
environmental assessment of their property. Ecology conducted
additional investigations of the surrounding area. The soil at
the Everett Smelter Site was found to be contaminated with
arsenic, lead, cadmium and other metals. Arsenic and lead were
present in some areas above state cleanup standards.
Ecology began working with Asarco in 1990 to investigate and
clean up the site. A
Cleanup Action Plan for the Upland
Area was finalized in 1999 after extensive discussion with the
Asarco declared bankruptcy in 2005. Ecology filed a claim
in the bankruptcy court for Asarco’s environmental liability for
the Everett Smelter site and other sites in Washington state.
Ecology, working with the Everett Housing Authority, has cleaned
up the part of the site with the highest levels of
contamination. Cleanup stopped in 2007, however, due to
lack of funding.
In December 2009, Ecology received a bankruptcy settlement of
$188 million from Grupo Mexico, a large Mexican mining company
that brought Asarco out of bankruptcy. $44 million of this
settlement was set aside for the Everett Smelter site cleanup.
$10 million of this was used to repay past costs on the site.
Ecology developed a ten-year plan to clean up properties within
the Everett Smelter site. Ecology will clean up the Upland
Area by removing contaminated soil that is accessible to
people (not under pavement or buildings). Cleanup involves
removing contaminated soil from residential yards, replacing it
with clean soil, and restoring the landscaping. The
Lowland area of the site is being cleaned up on a separate
schedule. For more information about the Lowland cleanup
Historic Smelter Location
Map of smelter footprint with historic plant building locations