News

Public hearing will give Islanders a chance to weigh in on Asarco cleanup plan

State officials will hold a public hearing next week to discuss plans to clean up residential yards that test high in arsenic and lead in the most contaminated parts of the Arsarco smelter plume — a swath that includes all of Maury and southern Vashon Island.

The public hearing will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at McMurray Middle School. The presentation begins at 7 p.m. An initial mailing by the state had the wrong date in it.

The state Ecology Department's far-reaching cleanup plan will entail a neighborhood-by-neighborhood sampling effort in Ruston, parts of Tacoma, University Place, Maury Island and southern Vashon Island — those places considered most contaminated within the 1,000-acre Tacoma Smelter Plume, the state's largest contaminated site.

The sampling will be voluntary, as will any remediation the state recommends, said Hannah Aoyagi, an outreach and education specialist in the Ecology Department's Toxics Cleanup Program. All told, state officials said, there are approximately 2,400 residences on Maury, in the Burton area and on Vashon Island south of S.W. 264th Street that fall within the area of greatest concern and that may warrant both sampling and remediation.

State funding for the massive cleanup comes from a settlement Asarco made when it filed for bankruptcy in 2005. The state received $188 million in settlement funds and expects to spend about $64 million of that on its yard cleanup program, the centerpiece of its Tacoma Smelter Plume project.

At Wednesday's hearing, state officials plan to present details of the project, get feedback about their approach and answer questions. The cleanup plan, however, is still being designed, Aoyagi said, and comments from residents will help the state shape the final project.

"We're looking for feedback," she said. "There may be things we haven't thought about."

The public can comment on the plan in writing until Dec. 20. To comment or to get more information, visit the Ecology Department's website, which includes detailed information about the Tacoma Smelter Plume.

 

EMAIL NEWSLETTERS

Latest news, top stories, and community events,
delivered to your inbox.

Trending Stories Nov 17 - Nov 24

  • Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

  • Western Washington

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Nov 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates