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Cleanup efforts in East Chicago set to resume

Crusader staff report

Cleanup work on some 200 East Chicago properties is set to begin, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday, March 20.

According to a press release, the EPA is expected to resume cleanup efforts at homes within the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site, which includes East Chicago’s Calumet neighborhood. An additional $16 million dollars the EPA secured from companies that left high deposits of lead in the soil, will go towards the cleanup effort.

“Gov. Holcomb and I agree that protecting the well-being of the people who live on the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site is crucial,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a statement. “EPA is accelerating the cleanup to keep residents safe in their homes and neighborhoods.”

The EPA will clean up the soil around 120 homes in Zone 3, which runs east of Huish Drive, and 72 homes in Zone 2, which is west of Kennedy Avenue, during the 2017 construction season. Those properties have high concentrations of lead and arsenic in the soil, according to the EPA.

Meanwhile, the state is considering additional resources to help the city deal with the contamination crisis.

“The health and well-being of Hoosier families is fundamental to our prosperity as a state,” Holcomb said in a statement. “I am thrilled to be working with Administrator Pruitt and his team, along with local leaders and stakeholders, on efforts at the USS Superfund Site in East Chicago. When local, state, and federal partners collaborate, resources can be directed to have the greatest benefit for communities facing these challenges.”

In 2016, EPA officials cleaned up the soil at 17 homes in Zone 2 of the site, which runs from McCook Avenue to East Huish Drive, and 38 in Zone 3. That zone runs from East Huish Drive to Parrish Avenue.

According to court documents, EPA officials said they anticipated that at least 395 homes in Zone 2, and 212 in Zone 3 will still need remediation.


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