image:filtered light in the forest

Toxics Cleanup Program

View of historic Tacoma Smelter Plume

Tacoma Smelter Plume En Español icon

For almost 100 years, the Asarco Company operated a copper smelter in Tacoma. Air pollution from the smelter settled on the surface soil over more than 1,000 square miles of the Puget Sound basin. Arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals are still in the soil as a result of this pollution.

Dirt Alert!

Arsenic and lead  can harm your health.  You can be exposed by accidentally ingesting or inhaling contaminated soil.  Children are especially at risk because they put dirty hands and toys in their mouths, and because their small bodies are still growing and developing. 
You can take simple Healthy Actions to protect yourself and your family from soil contamination.  Link to your local health department below for free brochures and services.

What is Ecology doing?

In 2009, the State of Washington received a settlement from Asarco, including $94.6 million to pay for cleanup of the Tacoma Smelter Plume.  For details on how Ecology plans to use the settlement to protect human health, see the Final Interim Action Plan.

Dirt Alert!

How to protect
your family from contaminated soil

Soil Safety Program
Cleaning up play areas
 at schools, childcares,
 parks, camps, and
multifamily housing

Yard Cleanup

Cleaning up yards
in the most
contaminated areas


How to clean up your
 property during