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More Lead Cleanup To Begin Soon In East Chicago

Sarah Fentem
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Cleanup begins soon on one of the sections of the lead contaminated West Calumet neighborhood in East Chicago. 

It comes after the Environmental Protection Agency found arsenic in the soil and announced lead contamination levels 100 times higher than what’s considered safe.  

In this section of the site, the EPA will remove contaminated soil from 13 yards. Crews will dig down about 2 feet, dispose of the contaminated soil, and replace it with lead-free soil.

This is one of three zones in the cleanup site.

Clean up in a second area is on hold, after East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland ordered residents to move out and the West Calumet Housing Complex demolished because of the contamination.

Clean up in the third area, also a residential neighborhood, began last month. So far, nine of 39 contaminated properties have been cleaned up.

About 3,000 people live on the Superfund site.

The lead and arsenic contamination is a byproduct of the former lead smelting industry in the area, which was declared a federal clean up site in 2009.   

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