Home soil testing being offered for Tacoma Smelter Plume pollution in area


The Department of Ecology is working with Public Health – Seattle & King County to re-launch the Dirt Alert Program in South King County, and is offering free soil testing to local residents possibly affected by pollution from the Asarco Smelter in Tacoma.

Here’s a map of the affected areas:

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King County is now offering:

  • Education and outreach for residents, community groups, organizations, schools, and childcares about healthy actions. Staff visit schools, community groups, events, and fairs.
  • Home soil testing in the Soil Safety Service Area.
  • Grants to community groups to improve education and outreach to diverse or underserved communities.

You can also enter your address in an interactive map to find out if you live in an affected area and what services Ecology and King County Dirt Alert offer.

Here’s more info from the county website:

Soil testing involves digging small holes in your yard’s soil, removing small amounts of soil, and refilling the holes. It usually takes a few hours. The soil samples will then be sent to a lab for analyzing.

Before we can test the soil, the property owner must sign the Property Access Agreement and Survey form that gives us permission to access the yard and do the work.

If you are a renter and would like free home soil testing of the yard, you must contact your property owner. The property owner must sign the form to give us permission to access the yard and do the work. The form must be returned to us before any testing can be done.

The results will be mailed in approximately two weeks to property owners. For results that are below the yard cleanup levels, we will mail or email sample results and include tips on reducing your contact to lead and arsenic. Learn more about what you can do to protect your family with simple healthy actions.

We will contact you directly if the test results show you have higher levels of arsenic and lead in your soil to provide you with more information.

For more information, contact us at 206-477-DIRT (3478); email us at dirtalert@kingcounty.gov; or use our online form.


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