EPA plans soil removal at lead-tainted Indiana complex


EAST CHICAGO, IN – APRIL 19: Drums labeled “non-hazardous waste” sit in the lawn at the West Calumet Housing Complex on April 19, 2017 in East Chicago, Indiana. Nearly all the residents of the complex were ordered to move by the East Chicago Housing Authority after the soil and many homes were found to contain high levels of lead. Scott Olson/Getty Images

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EAST CHICAGO, Ind. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to remove 2 feet of lead- and arsenic-contaminated soil at the site of a northwestern Indiana public housing that’s been evacuated and demolished over health concerns.

The agency estimates the cleanup project at the East Chicago’s West Calumet Housing Complex will cost about $26 million. It would involve removing more than 160,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil.

More than 300 families were forced from the complex after 2016 tests found high lead levels in blood samples from some children. The site was occupied decades ago by a lead-products factory.

Mayor Anthony Copeland has told the EPA that he’s seeking commercial or industrial development for the site, while advocates for former West Calumet residents argue new housing should be built there.


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