Tacoma Smelter Plume

2020 Yard Program Construction Underway

For almost 100 years, the Asarco Company operated a copper smelter in Tacoma. Air pollution from the smelter settled on the surface soil of more than 1,000 square miles of the Puget Sound basin. Arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals are still in the soil as a result of this pollution.

Our voluntary Yard Program cleans up arsenic and lead from the former Asarco smelter at no cost to the homeowner. This work is part of our efforts to sample and replace contaminated soil in the Tacoma Smelter Plume

There are 1,191 yards that qualify for soil replacement in the Yard Program service area. Since 2013 we have removed and replaced soil in 290 yards.

In 2020, we plan on replacing soil in 58 yards in the service area (see blue dots on map). All properties are in north Tacoma. In January we started on a group of six yards and three childcares. These yards are part of a small group funded by the EPA. 

Map of planned work. The bulk of our work in 2020 will be near N Narrows St and N Vassault St. We are also working in the EPA study area.

In 2020 we plan on working on 58 yards in Tacoma

Work on the next construction group will start in the spring of 2020. This group is in Area A and consists of 29 yards. The project is now in our contracting process. This is the first year that we will be working on a large group outside of the EPA study area.

Work on the third construction group is planned for the fall of 2020. This group is in Areas 1 and 2 of the EPA study area and consists of 23 yards. 

This is our planned work. The actual number of properties we complete in 2020 may change. 


If you have any questions about the Yard Program or construction in your neighborhood, call the project line at 360-407-7688, press 2 for the Tacoma Smelter Plume. We are available for questions and are happy to help you find the information you need. 

Please call us if you see:

  • Dust in the air from construction.
  • Soil on the sidewalk or street.
  • Mud or water running off the property.
  • Dump trucks without covers.