Cleanup to take place at Dockton Park

The state Department of Ecology (DOE) will be at Dockton Park this week as part of anther round of park cleanups to remove arsenic- and lead-contaminated soils from play areas.

Dockton is one of seven parks in the King and Pierce county area that the state has targeted for cleanup. Park neighbors can expect construction noise and some truck traffic during normal work hours. Contractors will use dust control measures to minimize contaminated soil escaping the site, according to a news release.

Soil sampling in 2010 confirmed the presence of arsenic and lead contamination from the former Asarco smelter in Tacoma. Money from a settlement with Asarco allowed the agency to expand its existing soil safety program to include parks, camps and public multi-family housing. The program, created through 2005 legislation, initially covered only school and childcare play areas.

A separate residential cleanup program is also under way as a result of the Asarco settlement.

Although contamination levels in the parks are not high enough to cause immediate concern, the long-term health risk for children has made the cleanups a priority for the state, according to the release.

Work is scheduled for a narrow window of time between the busy summer season and the onset of heavy rains. “We have a very tight timeline,” said DOE’s cleanup coordinator, John Zinza, who will oversee the contractors.

Some contamination may still remain outside of designated play areas, especially in wooded areas.


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