From the late 1800s to just before 1950, lead-arsenate pesticides were used in orchards, primarily apple and pear. These pesticides left lasting arsenic and lead contamination in soil. Some former orchards have been turned into neighborhoods, schools, and parks.
We want to ensure agricultural land used for new residential housing is cleaned up before people live there. To achieve this goal, we offer free soil sampling and created a group of knowledgeable business and government stakeholders to advise us on the issue.
Is your property affected?
Using old aerial photographs, Ecology has mapped the locations of historical orchards. Search our Dirt Alert map to see if your property is on a historical orchard and if any sampling and cleanup has been done. Email FormerOrchards@ecy.wa.gov to schedule free soil sampling so you can find out if your property is impacted.
Legacy Pesticide Working Group
Ecology created the Legacy Pesticide Working Group to help us figure out the best ways to get historical orchards sampled, and if necessary, cleaned up. The group met throughout 2020, with over 30 members representing banking, health, real estate, local government, and homebuilders. Learn more about the Legacy Pesticide Working Group.