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EPA: High Lead Levels At Former Scrap Yard

Last updated on Friday, April 5, 2013

(TERRE HAUTE) - Preliminary soil test results have found potentially hazardous levels of lead in parts of a former scrap yard that now belongs to the city of Terre Haute, an official with the EPA said Thursday.

WTHI reports that the land is between 1 st Street and the Wabash River near Hulman Street and once housed Sugar Creek Scrap. The scrap yard, in turn, gave the property to the city, which plans to build a floatable control structure on the site.

That structure would be part of the city's improved sewage treatment system and would filter trash, leaves and debris from storm water before overflowing into the river.

In February, the Environmental Protection Agency tested soil on the site, after city engineers contacted them about possible hazardous materials on site.

On Thursday, an EPA official said that preliminary test results showed concentrations of lead in soil of up to 100 parts-per-million in some parts of the property.

The official said those levels could be hazardous. Still, she said, the contamination would only affect those who get the lead in their mouths or on their skin, like workers or those who trespass on the property.

Shelly Lam, the EPA's on-scene coordinator, said the EPA is now working with the City of Terre Haute to find decide what to do about the lead.

Lam said there are a few options: the city can begin building its sewage installation but avoiding areas of high lead concentration, the EPA can begin the clean-up, or the EPA can work with the city or those responsible for any contamination on the site.

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