Frequently Asked Questions, Pittsburg Zinc Study, Pittsburg, Kansas
This fact sheet addresses questions that the citizens of Pittsburg might ask.
What is the investigation and cleanup process?
EPA will screen properties to detect levels of lead contamination in yards. If lead levels exceed the health-based levels of concern, the homeowner will be notified as soon as possible, and EPA will schedule a time to address the lead contamination at the property.
Will landowners be required to allow access for sampling and cleanup of their properties? How does EPA handle individuals that do not want their property tested or cleaned up?
Under current EPA policy, once the area to be sampled is delineated, landowners located in the area of concern will be required to provide access by signing an access agreement for sampling purposes. Current EPA policy requires that all landlords provide access for sampling and, if necessary, to allow for the cleanup of their properties.
If a property is found to have unacceptable levels of lead contamination in the soil, and a property owner (who is not a landlord) does not want the property cleaned up, EPA will not require cleanup under this policy. Instead, the homeowner would be required to
allow an environmental easement or restrictive covenant to be placed on the property so that future property owners will have notice that the property is contaminated.
How does EPA handle getting permission from absentee landowners? What if an absentee landowner wants to deny access?
EPA will attempt to locate the absentee landowner. EPA has had success in locating absentee landlords at other sites. The policies regarding access as outlined in the previous question apply to absentee landowners.
What properties will be sampled?
Properties located near the former Pittsburg Zinc smelter site that are potentially impacted by heavy metal contamination are expected to be sampled.
How can I obtain an access agreement?
Access agreements are available at City Hall, and can be filled out and returned to City Hall. You can also request access agreements by calling Beckie Himes, EPA, at 800-223-0425 or (913) 551-7253.
How quickly will I know if my yard exceeds acceptable lead levels?
After receiving a signed access agreement, EPA will screen soils in your yard for heavy metal contamination. The field screening results will be provided after a through review of the data has been completed, usually within 5 to 6 weeks.
If my property screening results exceed health-based levels of concern, when will it be cleaned up?
EPA is committed to excavate and remove all soil and/or waste from residential properties where a composite sample exceeds a health-based level of concern. Non-residential properties will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
The properties are prioritized based on:
- High child impact areas such as schools and daycare facilities with soil containing lead concentrations over a health-based level of concern.
- Properties where a child with elevated blood lead level resides and the property exceeds a health-based level of concern.
- Properties that have the highest level of contamination (measured in parts per million) over a health-based level of concern.
- Yards where lead levels are not above a health-based level of concern will not be cleaned up.
EPA will be screening throughout the spring months. EPA plans to return in the early summer to consider excavating those properties where lead contamination exceeds a health-based level of concern.
Is there a cost to the homeowner?
Where lead contamination exceeds health-based levels of concern, EPA will excavate lead contaminated soil, restore the yard back to its original condition, and apply seed to the soil. The only cost to the homeowner is the need to water the soil after it has been seeded.
What about contaminated commercial properties?
EPA plans to prioritize contaminated properties that pose immediate health risks. Commercial properties typically pose a lower threat to children and the public.
When warranted due to potential health concerns, EPA will perform cleanup at these properties on a case-by-case basis.
Is there a website I can visit to learn more about this site?
All EPA information pertaining to this assessment will be listed on the EPA On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) Website at http://www.epaosc.org/, as information becomes available.
If you have questions or need additional information, please contact:
Community Involvement CoordinatorOffice of Public Affairs
U.S. EPA, Region 7
901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, KS 66101
(800) 223-0425 or (913) 551-7253