Yard cleanup program

We are using a large part of a $94 million settlement from Asarco to sample and replace soil in residential yards. We offer soil replacement through the Residential Yard Sampling and Cleanup Program (Yard Program). The Yard Program includes the most contaminated areas of the Tacoma Smelter Plume. The program is free to all residential properties that qualify within the service area and is completely voluntary.

We identify yards that may qualify by reviewing soil sampling results and assessing the property at the initial visit. We send a letter in the mail inviting qualifying properties to participate.

A construction fence surrounds a house that is in the middle of soil replacement. A Tacoma Smelter Plume banner and information box hangs on the fence.

How do I find information for my property?

Visit the arsenic in soil database.

How does soil sampling work?

  • The soil sampling webpage explains how sampling works in different areas. If you live in the Yard Program service area, your property has probably already been sampled. To check if your property was sampled, visit the arsenic in soil database.
  • If you don't have soil sampling results, go to our soil sampling webpage to find out what to do next. 
  • We will wrap up our Yard Program sampling efforts in 2017.

How does my property qualify for soil replacement?

  • Ecology recommends soil replacement for yards with arsenic above 100 parts per million (ppm) or lead above 500 ppm. For properties inside the study area, we look at the parcel average for both arsenic and lead.
  • Sampling results are from the EPA or Ecology’s Yard Program (Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department sampling).
  • The property must be inside the Yard Program service area (see map below).
  • You choose to participate. The program is voluntary.

Properties or parts of yards may not qualify for soil replacement if:

  • There are steep slopes.
  • There is no access or limited access.
  • There is a large retaining wall or permanent structure.
  • There are lots of trees.

To learn more about the areas that don’t qualify, read our excluded areas handout. Not all properties qualify for soil replacement.

The soil replacement webpage explains how soil replacement works. You can also view this three-part video.

Map displaying the Yard Program service area.  The EPA Study Area is colored blue, the area of Vashon-Maury Island within the service area is colored yellow, and parts of north Tacoma is green.

Yard Program Service Area

In 2016, we updated our Yard Program service area (see map) to include 190 more yards on Vashon-Maury Island and 400 more yards in the Tacoma area.