Tacoma Smelter Plume: Recap of Tacoma Public Meetings

Last week, Ecology held two public meetings on the progress of the Tacoma Smelter Plume project.  We had a turnout of over 50 people who came out to learn about yard sampling and cleanup in Tacoma neighborhoods. Please see our slideshow presentation to learn more about the topics we covered. Here are a few of the common questions and answers that were discussed:

How do I sign up for soil sampling?

If you live in the most impacted areas of the plume (see map right), you likely qualify for one of our free soil sampling programs. Please visit our sampling webpage to learn more and sign up.

Why do I have to wait for soil replacement?

There are around 1,100 properties slated for soil replacement.  We are planning to replace soil on an estimated 100 properties a year.  We are first working in areas with the highest percentage of properties that qualify for soil replacement.

At the meetings, we presented maps showing our schedule for soil replacement in the service area. Please see the Study Area sequence map and the Tacoma sequence map for more information.

What are the health impacts of arsenic and lead?

Long-term exposure to small amounts of arsenic or lead on a regular basis can increase your risk for certain health problems. Arsenic can cause cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  Lead can lead to developmental delays or behavioral problems.  Please visit our webpage on the health effects for more information.

What do I do if I have elevated arsenic but do not qualify for soil removal?

We recommend healthy actions to reduce your exposure to contaminated soil. This includes things like: 

Washing hands with soap, taking of shoes at the door, vacuuming, and washing food.

Health Actions are simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family.

  • Please visit the Healthy Actions webpage for more information. Wash your hands before eating

  • Take your shoes off at the door

  • Vacuum at least once a week

  • Peel produce grown in your garden

Follow our yard cleanup work:

Questions about the Tacoma Smelter Plume project?

Please call the project line at 360-407-7688 and press 2 for Tacoma Smelter Plume; email me at Jill.Reitz@ecy.wa.gov; or contact your local health department DirtAlert program.