Breaking News Bar
updated: 6/26/2013 7:59 AM

EPA cleaning lead-contaminated site in Chicago

hello
Success - Article sent! close
 
Associated Press

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun removing lead-contaminated soil at an old smelter site in Chicago's mostly Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood, a three-month process that officials hope will make the lot safe enough for residential development.

Cleanup of the former Loewenthal Metals began Monday, and EPA officials planned to meet with residents on Tuesday night to discuss the project.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The facility operated as a lead and zinc smelter during the 1940s, but the polluted property has languished for decades even though it is near an elementary school. State environmental officials identified the contamination in 2006, but didn't refer the matter to the U.S. EPA until 2011. The city erected a fence around the site last winter.

Soil tests showed lead levels as high as 1,200 parts per million near the surface at the half-acre lot -- three times the threshold set by the EPA.

Lead can cause learning and behavior problems in children.

The Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization, which helped push for the cleanup, issued a written statement praising the action.

"It is great to see a site that was so polluted for so long and escaped anyone's attention finally being cleaned up" said Jack Ailey, a PERRO member.

Crews will remove soil to about three feet below the surface, dispose of it off-site and replace it with clean soil.

Residents claimed another environmental victory last year when the city's last two coal-fired power plants, the Fisk Generating Station in Pilsen and the Crawford station in nearby Little Village, were closed permanently. Redevelopment proposals for those sites are being evaluated by Midwest Generation, which owned the plants.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here