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.
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.
2022 brings cleanup construction and more soil sampling to north Everett. We are currently working with two cleanup groups and plan to engage a third this summer. Early this year, we reached out to properties who have not signed up for soil sampling. We hope to enroll more properties with continued outreach efforts.
This year, Ecology will work with the City of Everett on improvements to the existing stormwater drainage system in northeastern Everett by repairing cracks in this system of pipes. These repairs will help decrease contamination from the Smelter area from reaching the Snohomish River.