Dirt Alert Campaign Offers Free Soil Testing
For child care providers in King, Pierce, and NE Thurston counties:
For nearly 100 years the Asarco Tacoma smelter released lead and arsenic from its smokestack and into the air. Carried by the wind, these chemicals are present in soil throughout parts of King, Pierce, and Thurston counties, where they can cause long term health problems, especially for young children.
In 2005, the state legislature put aside funding for testing and cleaning the soils around schools and child cares whose play areas might be affected by the pollution. As a result, we are partnering with the Washington Department of Ecology and local public health departments to promote and administer the Soil Safety Program.
The Soil Safety Program provides schools and childcares with:
- Free soil testing.
- Funding for and help with cleaning polluted soils in play areas.
- Soil safety educational materials for care providers and their children.
If you are within the Soil Safety Program Service Area (click here for a map) [http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/sites/tacoma_smelter/pdf/SvcAreaMap.pdf], you may be contacted by your local health department for access to your property for soil testing. We strongly encourage you to participate in this free program and help keep the children you care for healthy and safe!
Local County Health Department phone numbers:
- Public Health Seattle King County: Sid Forman – (206) 205-8070
- Tacoma Pierce County Health Department: Walt Burdsall – (253) 798-6492
- Thurston County Health Department: Rachel Donnette – (360) 754-2954