Lead Contamination

A large coalition — made up of doctors, legal experts, advocacy groups, and others — is petitioning the state to lower its threshold for when public health agencies should address elevated blood lead levels in children.

Several Franklin residents say they were never told about cancer-causing chemicals at the Amphenol industrial site. The Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog, the Office of Inspector General, took resident’s comments Wednesday night. 

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   Today: Lake County Assessor Jerome Prince has won the Democratic mayoral primary for city of Gary beating out a crowded field of eight other candidates.  We talk to him about his victory as well as his plans for turning around crime, addressing blight in the city as well as other concerns that stifle Gary’s economic growth. 

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — East Chicago's mayor is urging state officials to advocate for a more protective cleanup of a lead- and arsenic-contaminated former housing complex in the northwestern Indiana city.

Mayor Anthony Copeland sent letters last month to Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management asking them to weigh in on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to remove tainted soil from the site.

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to excavate soil tainted with lead and arsenic from around more than 160 homes in East Chicago, in a push the agency says could complete exterior residential cleanups this year in the northwest Indiana city.

The EPA intends to remove polluted soil from about 167 properties in East Chicago's Calumet neighborhood, which is part of the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site.

EPA Calls For Soil Cleanup Around Franklin Sewers

Nov 29, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to clean up contaminated soil underneath some sewers in Franklin just south of the old Amphenol industrial site. Some residents suspect contamination from the site is causing rare child cancers in the area. 

EPA cites factory for toxic lead in Indiana

Nov 9, 2018

WHITING, Ind. (AP) — Federal and state environmental officials say a northwestern Indiana factory has repeatedly violated federal health standards by releasing alarmingly high concentrations of airborne lead in two cities.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management accused Whiting Metals of the violations Thursday, based on three months of air quality testing in Hammond and Whiting.

EPA turns to judge for lead-testing at 9 NW Indiana homes

Oct 29, 2018

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking access to nine properties within a Superfund site in northwestern Indiana that have never been tested for lead or arsenic contamination.

The EPA says in court filings that the East Chicago properties may be tainted with lead or arsenic at levels that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. The agency says it hasn't been able to get permission from property owners to test the soil.

The cleanup for part of an East Chicago, Indiana toxic waste site will cost nearly four times more than originally expected. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the site’s cleanup, will open an opportunity for public comments Monday, Dec. 18.

The EPA initially estimated cleanup for the residential area of the USS Lead Superfund site would cost $23 million. But, a new agency report says the estimate should be closer to $85 million.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will accelerate cleanup of 21 toxic waste sites across the country, including a lead- and arsenic-contaminated site in East Chicago, Indiana.

The EPA wants to expedite soil cleanup and finalize a plan for what to do with a now-abandoned public housing complex after it’s demolished at the USS Lead site in the northwest Indiana city.

Attorney David Chizewer says it’s not immediately clear if that’s helpful.

More than 30 East Chicago homeowners last week sued several companies the federal government holds responsible for toxic industrial contamination.

Those companies include DuPont, Atlantic Richfield, British Petroleum, U.S.S. Lead and Mueller Industries.

The lawsuit alleges those companies caused property loss to residents who live in a lead-contaminated Superfund site and that, “[f]or decades, Defendants’ lead smelting, lead refining, and other manufacturing processes wreaked environmental havoc in the Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago.”

Indiana Receives Approval To Expand Lead Testing

Oct 18, 2017

Two Indiana state agencies received approval to use federal money to expand lead testing, particularly for low-income Hoosiers.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration will be able to use $3 million a year for the next five years to provide lead testing and prevention services.

Fewer than half of Indiana’s public school districts are participating in a free lead testing program, according to Jim McGoff, environmental programs director at the Indiana Finance Authority.

The IFA created the voluntary program after lead contamination in places such as Flint, Michigan, and East Chicago, Indiana, rose to national prominence.

Jim McGoff told a legislative study committee he has confidence the water supply itself is lead-free because of tests water utilities are required to perform.

Three top federal officials visited Indiana in August: Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

The trips were tightly scripted and large parts were closed to the public.

While federal officials have visited Indiana in the past, there has been an uptick in visits since President Donald Trump took office.

Blood, Lead & Soil: A Year In East Chicago

Jul 26, 2017

One year ago, East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland told residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex they had to move out because of lead and arsenic contamination.

The announcement sparked a year of frantic action from residents, public officials, activists, and lawyers that’s still ongoing.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from Wikipedia

On this Reporters Roundtable Thursday, we find out more about the major news stories of the week from the reporters who covered them.  With us in the studio is Post-Tribune reporter Javonte Anderson and by phone are his Post-Tribune colleagues Carrie Napoleon and Greg Tejeda and -- from the LaPorte Herald-Argus and Michigan City News-Dispatch -- reporter Jon Gard.  

Indiana Public Broadcasting (IPB News) has won two national Public Radio News Directors Incorporated Awards (PRNDI), for the 2016 coverage of the lead contamination crisis in East Chicago, Indiana.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is moving forward with a plan to demolish East Chicago’s lead-contaminated West Calumet Housing Complex.

Residents had many questions and received few answers at a tense public meeting about the environmental review of the plan Monday night.

The city of East Chicago finished relocating more than 1,000 housing complex residents this spring. Officials plan to demolish the complex’s buildings later this year.

HUD must first sign off.

Federal housing officials will hold a public hearing Monday night on plans to tear down a lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago. The demolition plan got federal environmental approval last month, but residents want a chance to raise concerns.

Residents from the West Calumet Housing Complex area wrote to the Department of Housing and Urban Development this month. They asked for a public hearing and more time to comment on the demolition plan.

The federal government continues to oppose intervention by a group of East Chicago, Indiana, residents, who are asking a U.S. District Court to give them a larger role in the clean up of their lead and arsenic contaminated neighborhood.

The East Chicago residents were first turned down in May by Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry.

He ruled, “This case was closed over two years ago. To allow [the residents] to intervene now…would be highly prejudicial to the parties, who have already negotiated, settled, and obtained judgement in this case.”

Indiana To Begin Testing For Lead In Public School Water

May 30, 2017

State officials plan to investigate the drinking water of over 700 Indiana public schools for lead contamination this summer. Officials will travel the state to collect samples from drinking fountains, kitchen sinks and other fixtures that provide drinking water across school campuses.

Water testing will be led by the environmental arm of the Indiana Finance Authority, which oversees state funds from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill Thursday providing aid for a lead contaminated neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana.

House Bill 1344 expands lead testing in the soil and water of the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago. At the bill signing in East Chicago, Holcomb says nothing could be more important than getting the city back on track.

“From the street to your Statehouse to the White House, we are going to make sure East Chicago stays on track,” says Holcomb.

Keesha Daniels just moved from one lead contaminated neighborhood to another.

Both her new house and her old West Calumet Housing Complex apartment sit within East Chicago’s USS Lead Superfund site. The city is tearing down her old home because of extremely high levels of lead in the soil. So she had to move.

Daniels is still unpacking. Most rooms have a pile of boxes stacked tidily in a corner. Two heavy dressers sit in one otherwise empty room — her sons are coming later to move them. As Daniels takes me on a tour of her new house, she offers me some water.

This weekend 200,000 people converged on Washington DC to make a statement about the   environment, jobs and justice. There were roughly 50 Northwest Indiana residents who were there to advocate for keeping Environmental Protection Agency funding intact among other things.  Steven Lattimore was there...

 

Thousands turned out this weekend for the People's Climate Rally in Washington D.C. Among them were a bus-load of residents from East Chicago. Residents there are very concerned about the climate and the environment because they are dealing  with the effects of lead poisoning in the air, ground and water. Steven Lattimore has the story.

Another day, another water drive in East Chicago. The crisis is moving people from all over Northwest Indiana to come to the aid of residents in the Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago. Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore has the story.
 

Resident's in the Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago  deal with life using water filters and bottled water. Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore talks to residents to see what life is like now in this new normal...

Environmental Activists take a wait and see approach to promises of help from the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made a visit to East Chicago this week, as Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore reports...

EPA Administrator Visits East Chicago, NAACP Demands More Help

Apr 19, 2017

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt made his first visit to a Superfund site Wednesday, meeting in East Chicago with lawmakers and residents affected by lead contamination.

Pruitt made a short statement outside a shuttered elementary school in the USS Lead Superfund, after a closed briefing with Gov. Eric Holcomb, state and federal lawmakers, and local officials.

“And the reason I’m here is because it’s important that we restore confidence for the people here in this community, that we’re gonna get it right going forward,” Pruitt says.

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