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Sampling at Evansville soil contamination site expands to new areas April 11 - 15; meeting April 12

Release Date: 4/05/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT:
(EPA) Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050
(Evansville) Carolyn Rusk, (812) 436-7823

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA036

CHICAGO (Apr. 5, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 will resume its investigation to determine the extent of lead-contaminated soil in Evansville the week of April 11-15. Several hundred residents have been mailed detailed information and access agreements that, when signed, allow environmental technicians to collect soil from their properties.

The area to be investigated extends beyond the Jacobsville neighborhood, where attention had been focused until now. Based on limited data collected in late 2004, EPA now believes that many decades ago lead contamination may have spread to other areas. Before cleanup plans are finalized, EPA wants to perform a thorough investigation of potentially impacted areas.

An informal "drop-in" availability session to answer questions about the project will be Tuesday, April 12, 3:30 to 8 p.m., at the Evansville - Vanderburgh Central Branch Library, 200 S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Representatives from EPA and state and local health and environmental agencies will be on hand.

EPA's formal involvement at the Evansville site began in July 2004 when roughly 250 acres of the Jacobsville neighborhood was designated a Superfund National Priorities List site. "Sites on the list are eligible for further investigation and cleanup under the federal Superfund program," said Region 5 Acting

Administrator Bharat Mathur. "Once the sampling and follow-up laboratory analysis is completed, EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will present a range of cleanup alternatives to the community."

The contamination came to light a few years ago during a smaller cleanup in the Jacobsville neighborhood. In 2000 2001, in support of an EPA cleanup effort at the Evansville Plating Works, The Indiana Department of Environmental Management collected soil samples in the area, many of which showed lead levels high enough to warrant Superfund attention.

The first phase of the current investigation was Nov. 29 - Dec. 3, 2004. Soil from 49 residential and commercial properties was collected, with preliminary indications that the lead contamination may have have reached other neighborhoods beyond Jacobsville. Cleanup work required at any property found to have lead-soil contamination above an acceptable level will be paid for by Superfund.

The samples taken will be very small, with no damage to the yards. "I encourage full participation by Evansville residents and business owners, so that the EPA may clean up any lead contamination that may exist," said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel.

In addition to those residents who received the recent mailing seeking property access, other Evansville residents who would like their property to be considered for sampling may print an access agreement from the EPA Web site www.epa.gov/region5/sites/jacobsville/ and send it to EPA. If their area becomes a focus of further study, EPA will follow up.

At least four long-closed businesses in the Jacobsville neighborhood likely contributed lead contamination to the area: Blount Plow Works (horse-drawn plows; c. 1880s to 1940s), Advance Stove Works (stoves; c. 1900 to 1950s), Newton-Kelsay (draft animal harness parts; c. 1900 to 1950s) and Sharpes Shot Works (lead shot; c. 1878 to unknown date).

Site documents are at the Evansville - Vanderburgh Central Branch Library, EPA's records center in Chicago and at IDEM headquarters, 100 N. Senate Ave. in Indianapolis. For more information about the site, contact EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Yolanda Bouchee: (800) 621-8431, Ext. 33209 (business hours only), or bouchee.yolanda@epa.gov.

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