The testing is expected to begin in early December and last about a month depending on weather. The soil testing is part of a multi-year state project to sample, test and if necessary, clean up soil contaminated by former Everett Smelter operations, which occurred in the city’s north-end nearly 100 years ago.
Cleanup work is already underway at several residential properties in north Everett, which is expected to be completed by April 2012. The soil testing at the parks will provide information to determine whether any cleanup needs to occur at either park in the future.
Testing and cleanup work is free to property owners; participation is completely voluntary. Funding for this work comes from a $34 million share of the state’s $188 million bankruptcy settlement with Asarco Inc., the last owner of the Everett Smelter.
The smelter operated from 1894 to 1912 at what is now the intersection of Marine View Drive and Broadway. Contamination from arsenic, lead and other metals was detected at the former smelter property in 1990. Studies also showed that smokestack emissions, containing arsenic and lead, settled onto the ground in the northeastern part of the city.
Ecology worked with community members to develop a general cleanup action plan – finalized in 1999 – for the residential and commercial areas. Ecology is working with owners of industrial properties along the waterfront to address smelter contamination on their properties. The city began contamination cleanup at American Legion Memorial Golf Course several years ago as an independent action separate from current sampling, testing and clean-up work.
Ecology, the Everett Housing Authority, and the city of Everett worked together to clean up about 100 properties on the most contaminated parts of the site between 1999 and 2007. The properties to be cleaned during the current round of work are the first of about 500 remaining properties to be sampled, tested and potentially cleaned up.
Ecology has sampled 72 residential and commercial properties this year for cleanup in 2012 and 2013.