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Protect & Preserve the citizens of East Chicago from LEAD POISONING

Petition published by Chinita Lindsay on Aug 28, 2007
20 Signatures 
Target: 3rd District

Petition Background (Preamble):

State plans monitoring at shuttered lead plant
Sunday, August 19, 2007 12:14 AM CDT

BY STEVE ZABROSKI
Times Correspondent

EAST CHICAGO | State environmental regulators will for the next 30 years be watching for leaks from the site of a defunct lead plant on the city's southeast side.

Owners of the former U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery, better known as USS Lead, are responsible for keeping toxins from leaving the 79-acre site at 5300 Kennedy Ave., and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is taking public comments on a proposed post-closure permit for the facility.

Just 500 feet from homes in the city's Calumet neighborhood, the company did a brisk business snipping the tops off old batteries and recycling the lead plates inside until environmental protection laws forced the plant to close in 1985.

Sulfuric acid from the batteries wound up in the nearby Grand Calumet River, and tiny particles of lead suffused the surrounding area to the extent that a 2006 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigation found that up to 3 feet of soil would have to be removed from nearly every home site tested before the property could be considered clean.

Lead is a heavy metal that can cause nervous system disorders such as seizures, lowered intelligence and behavioral problems and is linked to skin and kidney cancers.

Contaminated materials from the facility were collected together under EPA Superfund guidance into a "corrective action management unit" -- a hazardous waste landfill -- on 11 acres of the USS Lead property. The landfill was completed in 2004.

The landfill walls extend 34 feet down into hard clay to prevent contaminants from leaving the site, and a clay cap was put on top to stop emissions from entering the atmosphere.

The proposed permit requires USS Lead's owners, now based in Redding, Calif., to monitor the cap for holes and check groundwater around the site for leaks until 2036.

IDEM estimated that 30 years of maintenance of the landfill would cost $2.6 million, but the company's owners said they don't have that kind of money and established a trust fund for monitoring the landfill with $100,000.

If something should go terribly wrong at the site, the matter would be referred to EPA Superfund officials for action, though the company's owners do have sufficient funds to monitor the clay cap and groundwater, IDEM spokeswoman Amy Hartsock said.

Comments on the proposed post-closure permit will be accepted by IDEM until Sept. 14.

Petition:

Owners of the former U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery, better known as USS Lead, are responsible for keeping toxins from leaving the 79-acre site at 5300 Kennedy Ave., and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is taking public comments on a proposed post-closure permit for the facility.

Just 500 feet from homes in the city's Calumet neighborhood, the company did a brisk business snipping the tops off old batteries and recycling the lead plates inside until environmental protection laws forced the plant to close in 1985.

They should not be allowed to walk away from a problem that they created leaving the residents to contiune to suffer with soil contamination and medical problems that have already occurred in our children and family.

We simply must hold businesses, industry and our government accountable for the actions that have been allowed and prevent them from continuing and allowing this lead contaminated land to go unsupervised. The removal of the contaminated soil is the ultimate solution, however until that action is taken maintaining the land is a dire necessity.

The Protect & Preserve the citizens of East Chicago from LEAD POISONING petition to 3rd District was written by Chinita Lindsay and is in the category Health at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags:

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