EPA public meeting to discuss the Westside lead cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencywill host a public meeting Thursday to discuss the cleanup of lead contaminated soil in Atlanta’s westside.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencywill host a public meeting to discuss the cleanup of lead contaminated soil at approximately 66 properties in Atlanta’s westside, according to a press release.

The meeting for the U.S. EPA Region 4 will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 at YMCA of Metro Atlanta Leadership & Learning Center, 569 MLK, Jr. Drive NW,Atlanta.

As part of a cleanup, EPA will remove contaminated soil and dispose of it at an off-site facility licensed to handle the waste. The excavated areas will be backfilled with clean soil and restored. Sampling activities are ongoing and will be used to evaluate the appropriate next steps to protect public health and the environment. If sampling indicates additional properties may be impacted, the study area will be expanded, as necessary.

In 2018, an Emory University doctoral student shared data with the EPA showing elevated lead levels collected from soil samples in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods. Research by the EPA led to the discovery of industrial smelting waste, called “slag,” on two lots near Elm Street.

EPA has initiated an investigation into the contamination. Currently, EPA has sampled just over 120 properties in the English Avenue neighborhood, with approximately half of the properties showing lead concentrations above EPA’s health-based risk values. This soil poses a health risk to residents, and EPA is initiating a removal action to reduce the threat.

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