Herald and Globe reports
MARYSVILLE — As if the commute across the flats wasn’t tough enough at times, it’s going to become even more laborious starting in mid-August and lasting up to four months.
The Department of Ecology expects to start arsenic and lead cleanup along the Snohomish River to remove the heavy metals left there by the Asarco Everett smelter from 1894-1912. The cleanup must be done because chemicals are polluting groundwater that feeds into the river.
The key road closure will be the offramp from northbound Highway 529 to East Marine View Drive in Everett. However the northbound Highway 529 onramp will still be usable from southbound East Marine View Drive.
The major traffic tie-ups will be on East Marine View Drive and to the Riverside Business Park, but other than added traffic elsewhere that should not affect most commuters.
Drivers who use East Marine View Drive in that area are encouraged not to. If traveling south, the state suggests instead for drivers to use Broadway and 19th Street as a bypass. And northbound drivers should take 16th Street and Broadway.
Several methods will be used in the cleanup, including soil removal. In some areas, the agency will cover the contaminated soil with clean material that prevents rainwater from soaking in.
The contamination was discovered nearly three decades ago. Many in the Delta neighborhood are still awaiting cleanup as funds for the work run low. DOE is seeking additional state funds to continue cleanup.
The city of Everett received $44 million from a court settlement to pay for remediation work. The DOE is using $10 million from that settlement for the work along the Snohomish River.
DOE has now completed cleanup on more than half of the approximately 700 homes, and the most highly contaminated areas, including the former smelter property. Contaminated particles from the smokestacks settled over a 1.1 square mile area.