The Washington Department of Ecology is removing the old sod at Wiggums Hollow Park across three acres, with plans to move on to the Viola Oursler Park/Viewpoint this April.
This effort, the third in a series, aims to remove soil that was contaminated by the Everett Smelter from 1894 to 1912, the discovery of which didn’t come along until 1990. The soil contains lead and arsenic.
The scope of work at Wiggums includes the clearing of lawn and removal of up to eighteen inches of soil, which is then topped with new sod and topsoil. For two months afterwards, temporary fencing will be erected to allow for the new lawn’s roots to flourish. The full park grounds will re-open in July.
For the Viewpoint, which is only a quarter of an acre altogether, up to a foot of contaminated soil will be removed along with some shrubbery. Most of the park will be closed through late July to accommodate the new, temporary fencing which will also be placed, but the slope will remain fenced through the end of this summer.
The bulk of the clean up of the smelter property itself happened between 2005 and 2007.
Residential yards in the area have been similarly affected by the smelter site. The Washington State Department of Ecology offers soil testing to privately owned properties in the “plume area”, provided that they haven’t been previously tested. To date, approximately 700 homes have been identified, and about half of them have completed their clean up.
Lastly, they urge residents within the plume zone to limit wearing shoes outside-to-inside, regularly clean the floors, and regularly wash toys, pacifiers and hands.
Image courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology blog.