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Soil Testing To Begin Again At NL Industries-Taracorp Superfund Site In Granite City, Illinois

Release Date: 10/15/2010
Contact Information: Jayna Legg, (312) 353-0562. Legg.jayna@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 10-OPA124

(CHICAGO – October 15, 2010) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin another round of soil sampling on properties that may be contaminated with lead from the former NL Industries lead smelter and battery recycling plant at 16th Street and Cleveland Boulevard in Granite City.

The NL Industries-Taracorp site is located approximately two miles east of St. Louis and operated as a secondary lead smelter and refining plant from 1903 until 1983. Lead contamination from the site, including airborne smelter stack emissions and battery chips, was identified in a number of residential areas in Granite City, as well as in neighboring Eagle Park Acres, Madison and Venice.

The properties that will be sampled are left over from a cleanup that took place from 1993 to 2000. During the final years of the cleanup, the NL Industries-Taracorp Superfund Site Group – at the direction of EPA and working with Illinois EPA – tested soil in yards at the site. Contaminated soil was excavated, replaced with clean soil and the yards were re-landscaped. During that cleanup, 59 property owners did not allow sampling. Another 25 denied access to remove contaminated soil after the samples tested positive for high lead levels.

Beginning in mid-October, more than 80 property owners will receive letters from the NL Industries-Taracorp Superfund Site Group and EPA requesting permission to sample soil. Property owners who do not respond may be visited by environmental remediation specialists, who also will ask for access. If samples show lead levels above EPA’s cleanup standard, and the property owners give consent, next year the soil will be excavated and replaced at no cost to them.

For the assurance of all involved, local elected officials and police will know when the remediation specialists are in the neighborhoods seeking access, and the specialists will carry proper identification. Because removing or reducing lead in the environment is one of EPA’s continuing priorities, EPA asks that property owners check “yes” and give permission to conduct the necessary sampling.

For more information on the NL Industries-Taracorp site, go to http://www.epa.gov/region5superfund/npl/illinois/ILD096731468.htm.
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