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EPA Region 7 to Hold News Conference June 4 in Omaha, Neb., to Discuss New Milestone for Omaha Lead Superfund Site

Release Date: 06/03/2013
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394 (office), 816-518-2794 (cell), whitley.christopher@epa.gov

Environmental News

NEWS MEDIA ADVISORY - FOR COVERAGE PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY

(Lenexa, Kan., June 3, 2013) - National and regional EPA officials and local government officials will hold a news conference on Tuesday, June 4, in Omaha, Neb., to discuss a significant milestone in the Agency’s continuing efforts to clean up toxic lead from residential yards and properties in the city.

The news conference will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, in the Jesse Lowe Conference Room on the Third Floor of the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center, 1819 Farnam Street.

Since 1999, EPA and its contractors have been working cooperatively with local officials, agencies, institutions, community organizations, residents and property owners to sample and remediate lead-contaminated soils from Omaha’s residential yards, schools, day care facilities, parks and playgrounds. Addressed under EPA’s Superfund program, the Omaha Lead Site, consisting of approximately 27 square miles of eastern Omaha, has been on the National Priorities List since 2003.

WHO: Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER); EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks; Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle

WHAT: News conference to discuss milestone in Omaha Lead Site cleanup

WHEN: 1 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday, June 4, 2013

WHERE: Jesse Lowe Conference Room, Third Floor of Omaha-Douglas Civic Center, 1819 Farnam Street, Omaha, Neb. 68183

In 1998, the Omaha City Council solicited assistance from EPA in addressing problems with lead contamination in area soils, prompted by cleanup activities at the former ASARCO lead processing facility along the west bank of the Missouri River in Omaha.

From the early 1870s until it closed in 1997, the ASARCO plant emitted lead and other heavy metals into the atmosphere from smoke stacks and fugitive emissions. Those pollutants were carried by wind and deposited on the ground across eastern Omaha for more than a century. Over time, soils around many residences have also been contaminated with lead from the flaking and deterioration of lead-based exterior paints.

Lead in surface soils poses a serious health risk to children six years of age and younger, and to pregnant women. Lead poisoning can result in learning and behavioral problems, hearing problems, diminished IQ, and kidney damage. EPA also classifies lead as a possible cancer-causing agent.

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