Vassault Park: Field reopens following Asarco contamination cleanup

Metro Parks Tacoma officials announced the field at Vassault Park recently reopened after being closed to the public for several months in order to allow turf to regrow.

The Washington State Department of Ecology cleaned up contaminated soil at the park last year (see “Contaminated soil cleanup planned at Vassault Park,” Tacoma Daily Index, June 16, 2014), and Metro Parks Tacoma staff reseeded the area. Earlier this month, staff decided the turf was strong enough to allow the public back onto the field at Vassault Park, located at 6100 N. 37th St., in Tacoma.

Baltimore Park, located at 4716 N. Baltimore St., and Optimist Park, located at 1330 N. James St., are undergoing similar soil remediation projects this summer and will be fenced off for months afterward to allow new grass to take root.

The Washington State Department of Ecology has an ongoing effort to clean up soil contaminated by toxic metals as a result of the old Asarco copper smelter’s operation near Ruston. The Tacoma Smelter Plume area covers 1,000 square miles in Pierce, Thurston, and King counties. Funds to clean up Vassault Park came from a $95 million settlement with Asarco, which operated the former smelter near Ruston. Emissions from the facility contaminated a 1,000-square-mile area of surface soils with arsenic and lead, according to Washington State Department of Ecology officials.

More information about Vassault Park is available online here.


To read the Tacoma Daily Index’s complete and comprehensive coverage of cleanup efforts related to the former Asarco copper smelter site in Tacoma, click on the following links: