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Jacobs Superfund Site Remediation Supports Metro Parks Tacoma Gold Medal Award

The Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park honors local author Frank Herbert's environmental message and the extraordinary vision of Metro Parks and the City of Tacoma.

 In early July, Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park officially opened to the public with walking paths, a public amphitheater and sweeping views of Washington’s Puget Sound and Vashon Island.

This new community gem played a key part in Metro Parks’, the municipal corporation that oversees parks and recreation services in and around the City of Tacoma, recognition from the National Recreation and Park Association with a Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.

While it’s now garnering recognition for its benefits and beauty, the site wasn’t always viewed this way.

The park, located along the shore of Commencement Bay, actually sits on a portion of the former Asarco Tacoma Smelter site which operated from 1890 to 1986, first as a lead smelter, and later as a copper smelter that processed ores containing high levels of arsenic. Since 1999, Jacobs has providedoversight support to EPA Region 10 for remedial investigations and feasibility studies for the Proposed Plan and Record of Decision and the remedial design/remedial action activities at the Asarco Tacoma Smelter site.

The smelting process at the Asarco site resulted in two main types of contaminant releases: sulfur dioxide and contaminated dust; and slag, a waste product of the smelting process containing lead, arsenic, copper and other metals – leading to Commencement Bay/Tideflats’ addition to the EPA’s list of Superfund sites in 1987.

Aiming to mitigate the contaminated Superfund site and redevelop the land, agencies including the City of Tacoma, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington State Department of Ecology banded together to create what’s now a community amenity and popular destination for more than three million people each year.

Doing our part to reimagine the site, we led design of the cap for the peninsula, stormwater management, shoreline stabilization along the tip of the peninsula and inside the yacht harbor area, various elements of the marina that were impacted by the remedial action and remedial action construction oversight.

“The Jacobs team infused years of brilliant remediation experience to our ownership team,” said CIP Program Manager at Metro Parks Tacoma Roger Stanton. “Their oversight and design expertise brought a level of surety to the project team that we would not have had without their help.”

Dune Peninsula’s name pays tribute to local author Frank Herbert who was inspired to write the award-winning ecologically-inspired science fiction novel, “Dune,” based on the increasing pollution he saw in the city of his birth. Referring directly to the former industrial site, Herbert said the Asarco smelter created “air so thick you could chew it.”

Thanks to the contributions of many, the former Superfund site has been converted to an award-winning recreational destination that honors Herbert's environmental message and the extraordinary vision of Metro Parks and the City of Tacoma.

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