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EPA Begins Recovery Act - Funded Cleanup at Evansville Superfund Site

Release Date: 04/06/2010
Contact Information: (EPA) Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, (IDEM) Amy Hartsock, 317-233-4927, (Evansville) Audra Levy, 812-436-4969

No. 10-OPA036

(CHICAGO – April 6, 2010) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 this week begins cleanup of 300 lead-contaminated properties in Evansville’s Jacobsville neighborhood. The 2010 work is being funded through at least $5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. There is no cost to residents.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on February 17, 2009, and has directed the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at

Environmental cleanup crews and construction vehicles will be visible throughout 2010 in an area bounded by Mary Street to the west, Iowa Street to the north, Elliot Street to the east and Division and Illinois streets to the south. Initial cleanup work this week and next week will focus on a vacant lot on the 100 block of West Michigan Street, and residential properties on the 200 blocks of East Michigan Street and East Virginia Street.

EPA contractors will use mini-excavators and, at times, hand shovels, to remove 6 to 24 inches of soil. The front, back and side yards at each property were each tested separately for lead content, so EPA will be removing soil only in the yards and to the depths where contamination was found. The work crews will also use precautions such as misting and air testing to control and monitor dust during the excavation work. The excavated soil will then be hauled directly to the Laubscher Meadows Landfill. Under the current schedule, eight to 10 small dump truck loads will be taken to the landfill each day. After the project gets fully under way, a second crew may be added to increase the pace of the cleanup. The trucks will be covered to prevent soil from blowing off while in transit. EPA’s contractors will photograph residential yards, driveways and building foundations before and after each yard cleanup. Grass and plantings will be restored as close as possible to the original yard appearance. Care will be taken to work around large trees and foliage.

While the cleanup gets under way, EPA, in consultation with Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the city of Evansville, will evaluate the option of using a temporary staging area in the Evansville area for the excavated soil. The Laubscher Meadows Landfill closes at 3:30 p.m. daily and temporarily staging the soil before delivering it to the landfill would enable the crews to work into early evening. A longer work day would enable EPA to finish the cleanup faster while also spending the Recovery Act resources efficiently. EPA will contact community leaders and hold a public meeting before any final decision is made. EPA will not consider temporary staging at locations that are close to residential areas or schools.

The 2010 Recovery Act-funded work represents the second phase of cleanup at the Evansville site. In 2007 - 2008, EPA cleaned up about 80 residential properties with lead levels above 1,200 parts per million. EPA’s residential lead cleanup level is 400 ppm. The current work targets properties with lead-soil levels generally below 1,200 ppm. A third phase of the cleanup will encompass about a dozen neighborhoods in a 4.5-square-mile area north and south of the Lloyd Expressway between U.S. 41 and Pigeon Creek. This expanded area includes about 10,000 properties that will be tested for soil contamination. Of these, EPA expects 4,000 yards may require cleanup. Work in this expanded area will begin in 2011 or 2012.

Several long-closed manufacturing companies used lead, arsenic and other metals in their operations, which has contaminated the soil. The site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in July 2004. The site area was later expanded when additional soil sampling identified more wide-spread contamination. Though the expanded area encompasses a number of neighborhoods, EPA uses the Jacobsville name to describe the site because that’s where the contamination is thought to have originated.

See more information on the Jacobsville Neighborhood Soil Contamination Superfund site at

Residents in the initial cleanup area with questions about the project or who have yet to provide formal access to EPA to sample or clean their yards, or residents in the expanded area with questions, may contact community involvement coordinator Dave Novak via e-mail at or toll-free at 800-621-8431 (business hours). Residents in the expanded area will be receiving letters from EPA over the next several years requesting access to their property for sampling and cleanup. EPA has also established an Internet listserv for residents to receive Jacobsville site updates. To subscribe, send an e-mail to

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