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Soil sampling in the Tacoma smelter plume

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get free soil sampling. We also have brochures for sampling your own soils.

  1. Visit our interactive map of the Tacoma smelter plume.
  2. Search for your address.
  3. Click on the links in the pop-out box to get more information for your neighborhood.
  4. Look below for contact information and links.

Questions? Call the Tacoma smelter plume project line: 360-407-7688 (x 2).

Soil samples are taken by pushing a small tube in the ground. Samples are labeled, and then sent to the lab for processing. Photos courtesy of Walt Burdsall, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Interested in soil sampling? Check our interactive map first

Your yard may have already been sampled. Many yards in the Environmental Protection Agency study area and the Yard Program service area were already sampled. If your home is in one of those areas, our interactive map will direct you to the Arsenic in soil database, where you can find sampling data and information on soil replacement.

The Yard Program sampling and cleanup program

The Yard Program provides free soil sampling and cleanup for residential yards in the most contaminated areas of the Tacoma smelter plume. If your property is in the Yard Program service area, it is possible that your property has already been sampled. To find out if there is existing soil sampling data for your property go to the Arsenic in Soil Database.

If your property is within the Yard Program service area and we do not have existing soil sampling data for your property, please sign up for soil sampling using our access agreement. We do not offer soil sampling inside the study area.

Home soil testing program (outside of the Yard Program)

This outreach program is for homes outside of the Yard Program service area, but still in an area likely to have contamination. We sample areas in you are most concerned about — gardens, child play-areas and places where dogs run. Sampling is for educational purposes only, and will not qualify your property for cleanup. 

Pierce County residents

If you are within the home soil testing boundary in Pierce County, please fill out a sampling access form and email it to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department at dirtalert@tpchd.org. Questions? Call Glenn Rollins at 253-798-3503.

King County residents

If you are within the home soil testing boundary in King County, please fill out a sampling access form and email it to Public Health-Seattle & King County at dirtalert@kingcounty.gov. Questions? Call Denis Sharify at 206-477-DIRT.

Take your own soil samples

Outside of both the home soil testing and Yard Program service areas?
  • Take your own samples using our soil sampling guidance.
  • You can take your own soil samples if you live outside of the Yard Program and home soil testing program areas. Ecology’s soil sampling brochures explain how you can take soil samples using tools found around the home. Samples cost around $30-40 to analyze at a certified lab, for both arsenic and lead.

If you are building a home or developing a property

We recommend sampling soils before beginning your project. For more information, please visit the technical assistance webpage or contact Eva Barber at 360-407-7094 or Eva.Barber@ecy.wa.gov.