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Toxics Cleanup Program

Technical Assistance 

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Advice for Developers

Arsenic and lead in soils puts people at risk, especially children.  Development is a great time to test soils for contamination and clean them up!  Arsenic and lead from the plume are usually in the top six inches of soil.  Digging, grading, and scraping can be part of the cleanup.

How Do I Know If My Soil Is Contaminated?

Ecology has Tacoma Smelter Plume Model Remedies Guidance  for sampling your soils.  You do not need special equipment or expertise.  Samples cost around $30-$40 each to analyze for arsenic and lead.  The number of samples depends on the size of the area, past uses, and how you plan to develop it.

How Do I Clean Up My Land?

Ecology strongly recommends digging up soils and sending them to a landfill.  This cleanup method best protects human health and is permanent.  In some cases, you can cap over soils with cleaner soils or pavement.  Where arsenic and lead levels are fairly low, you can mix with cleaner soils to dilute the contamination.  

See Ecology’s Tacoma Smelter Plume Model Remedies Guidance  for more details on how to do cleanup.   For more information about cleanup, please contact at 360-407-7094.

I Need Ecology Approval of My Cleanup

If a local government permit office or lender requires Ecology’s written approval of your cleanup, you must enter the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP).   Also, a future buyer might want to see Ecology’s written approval of your cleanup.  The VCP provides technical assistance and a written opinion.  Getting written approvals via the VCP is free for projects with only Tacoma Smelter Plume contamination.

Protecting Workers and the Environment

State law requires employers to protect their workers, who could be harmed by contaminated soils.  Construction sites must also prevent dust or storm water runoff from leaving the site.  Our fact sheets have more information: