Everett Smelter cleanup

We are cleaning up lead and arsenic contamination left behind by the Everett Smelter, in residential and industrial areas of Northeast Everett. We are also encouraging property owners and residents near the former smelter to enroll in our free soil sampling program to see if they qualify for soil replacement.

The Everett Smelter was operated by Asarco from 1894–1912, but the contamination wasn't discovered until 1990. Smelter operations left high levels of arsenic and lead on the former smelter property. Contaminated particles from the smokestacks settled over a 1.1 square mile area.

We're more than halfway done

We've completed cleanup work on more than half of the approximately 700 homes in the uplands area and at American Legion Memorial Park. We have sampled for contamination at all the properties that requested it. For details, see our cleanup progress page.

The cleanup site is divided into Uplands (residential) and Lowlands cleanup areas. The two areas are on different cleanup schedules.

From 1999–2007, we managed cleanup of the most highly contaminated areas, including the former smelter property.

In 2009, we received funding through a bankruptcy settlement with Asarco to continue cleanup work. From 2009 to 2019, we spent most of the settlement funds on residential cleanups in the uplands area and on developing a cleanup plan for the lowlands area.

In 2019, we received funds from the Legislature to continue cleanup.

Work progress

February 2021

All contracted work on the Everett Smelter Project stopped in May 2020 due to COVID-19 and a directive from Gov. Jay Inslee. We are now able to hire contractors to begin work on the 2019 and 2020 cleanup groups and complete soil sampling on the properties that requested it in early 2020. The contracting process will be slower than normal because of the year-long backlog.