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Soil replacement for residential yards

Ecology is working neighborhood by neighborhood to replace soil in qualifying residential yards in the Tacoma smelter plume area. We will contact you to discuss options when we reach your neighborhood.

For news on the Yard Program’s accomplishments and upcoming work, visit the Yard Program updates page.

I want to...

Learn more by reading the Homeowners Guide to Soil Replacement for:

Planning for soil replacement

We start the planning process a year before soil replacement takes place. Planning for cleanup takes several months and soil replacement can take up to 12 weeks. We qualify yards by reviewing soil sampling results and evaluating the property during our first visit.

Some properties or portions of yards might not qualify for soil replacement due to steep slopes, retaining walls, and other areas that are excluded from cleanup. Ecology does not remove soil around trees or large plantings, rock walls, ponds, or under pavement. To learn more, read our excluded areas handout.

Once we identify properties that may qualify, we mail a letter to property owners inviting them to participate and attend a program orientation meeting.

A house and yard before, during, and after soil replacement.

Before, during, and after soil replacement.

The soil replacement process

Watch our three part video:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: What to expect during cleanup

Part 3: How to care for your new lawn 

Orientation materials

Pre-construction meeting:

April 14 and 21, 2016- Tacoma presentation

Soil Replacement Orientation:

January 25 and February 1, 2017- Tacoma presentation

Plant and lawn care after soil replacement

To learn more about how to keep your lawn green naturally, watch the video series on Natural Lawn Care or read our handout on lawn care after soil replacement.

Soil replacement sequence

In 2016, we designed a map to display how we are prioritizing neighborhoods for soil replacement over the next ten years. The soil replacement sequence is based on the percentage of properties that qualify with arsenic over 100 ppm, geographic proximity and total number of properties in a group.

Map dividing the study area into five areas.  The areas are numbered 1-5.  One is the darkest area.  Five is the lightest area.

Soil replacement progress inside the study area

We started work in the the darkest shade of green and over time, we will move to the lighter shades. We are currently working in area 1.

Map dividing the area of north Tacoma into areas.  The areas are labeled A-ZZ, in alphabetical order. Letter A is dark brown and letters ZZ are light brown. The Study Area is colored green.

Soil replacement progress outside the study area

Outside of the study area, we will begin soil replacement work in area A. We will start with the darker shades of brown and move to the lighter shades over time.

Inside the study area

The study area is where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversaw Asarco’s soil sampling and replacement work in the early 1990s and 2000s. For more information on the sequence, please see the Program Design and Implementation Plan (March 2013).

Outside the study area

Outside of the study area, we will start with the darker shades of brown and move to the lighter shades. In the next couple of years, we hope to begin soil replacement work in area A (see map).