Washington State Attacks Soil Contamination

The cleanup after the nation’s infamous smelting operations continues. This time it’s King and Pierce Counties in Washington state dealing with another ASARCO site, according to this report.

The smelter in Tacoma, Wash. hasn’t operated for decades, but its contamination is of the legacy type because it settles into the soil. Crews have already spent seven years cleaning up contaminated soil at “playgrounds, ball fields, daycare centers and parks,” the report says. Now the focus continues on several parks where workers remove the soil, haul it to disposal facilities and then replace it with clean soil. Dottie Harper Park in Burien, Wash. is shedding its arsenic, as are parks in McMicken Heights and Sunset Playfields, both in SeaTac. In Federal Way, they’re cleaning up Lake Grove Park while Vashon Island’s Dockton also gets fresh soil. Lakewood’s Kiwanis park and American Lake park are also being cleaned. ASARCO went down in history as the largest environmental bankruptcy in 2009. Out of that event, $1.79 billion became available to communities all across the country to fund the cleanup of the company’s environmental mistakes and missteps. The company lives on though, as ASARCO Grupo Mexico with operations in Arizona and Texas.