Sea Tac Downwinders

ASARCO research project (includes haz-mat sites in the Kent/Des Moines area)




Survey area has been increased to cover the area based on Washington State Dept. of Ecology maps


(source: historylink.org)

Mobile site updated

The mobile site has been updated with a better menu system on the top of each page. Some pages include a topic button for additional pages connected to the content on the page.

Is it safe to eat the clams?

During the Spring months, clam season starts in the Puget Sound Area.

There maybe a few places around the sound where shellfish are safe to eat, but for most of the South Puget Sound area, the pollution from Asarco still exists in beaches in the area.

If you are digging for clams at Saltwater State Park, there has been recent closures to the park from spills from the nearby sewage treatment. Clams harvested from the beach, at the park, should never be eaten.

The Dirty Playgrounds and the Dirty Secrets

If you lived or worked in the city limits of Tacoma or Fife as well as Vashon Island, the daily plumes from ASARCO were in the air.

As the result of the wind and the size of the smokestack, these plumes reached the other side of the Puget Sound and affected the following areas:

Highline School District

North Hill Elementary

Olympic (Jr High or Elementary)

Madrona Elementary

Marvista Elementary

Normandy Park Elementary

Parkside Elementary

Federal Way School District

Woodmont Elementary

If you attended Parkside or Woodmont Elementary School (up until 1980)

For those that attended these two elementary schools in the city of Des Moines, where you lived, played, or waited for the school bus may have been near a hazardous materials storage area where the exposure of PCBs may have existed.

Since the 1980's, the EPA and various agencies worked on cleaning up some of the concerns in the area regarding PCB's from storage sites along the highway, but cleaning up the soil in the area only applied to a few sites along the highway, surrounded by a landfill that was taking care of Seattle's garbage needs on a daily basis.

Neighborhood Definitions for the Project

Some of the area focused on this website is incorporated into the city of Kent since the city boundaries between the Kent/Des Moines area are not based on a straight line along Pacific Highway South (some of these decisions were based on individual business and neighborhood approval leading to confusion at times).

This website will classify Midway as being in the city of Kent while Salt Air will be classified as the city of Des Moines.

While the Salt Air neighborhood does have neighborhoods and businesses incorporated into the city of Kent, none of the area is considered to be in use for schools, parks, and watershed purposes. These uses are only managed in the area that is within the city of Des Moines.

Woodmont and Redondo will be classified as being in the city of Des Moines since most of the community is within it's city limits.

Parkside Elementary today after topsoil was removed from the playground (to construct the current school) containing up to 40 ppm of arsenic and 80 ppm of lead (photo source: Tim Babcock)