Roy Gilbert

EPA effort to clean Southside lead site remains ongoing; agency needs help gaining access

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Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / EPA director Andrew Wheeler speaks about the release of the final report of the national Superfund Task Force Monday, September 9, 2019 at Southside Community Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to Wheeler, the Southside Chattanooga Lead Site serves as a success story for the Superfund program. The site was added to the National Priorities List a year ago, which opened up additional funding opportunities and allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to replace the lead-tainted soil.

The EPA continues work to remediate lead on South Chattanooga properties as local residents and agency leaders share information about the importance of testing and what a cleanup entails for those living on contaminated land.

The Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of what will ultimately be a more-than-10-year effort to identify and remediate properties with elevated lead levels, but it needs cooperation from homeowners that has been slow to materialize.

“What we’re finding is people aren’t really giving us access until they see us out in the field cleaning up someone else’s house,” site remedial project manager Jasmin Jefferies said. “They’ll ask if they can get on the sampling list while we’re already cleaning up their neighbor’s house, where we could have already gotten started cleaning up their property as well if we had that sampling information.”

The agency is trying to obtain access agreements for the 5,483 yards in what it has designated the Southside Chattanooga Lead Superfund Site. So far, it has sampled 1,460 properties. It’s made […]

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