2020 Chestnut Street
Current Site Information
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)Virginia
2020 Chestnut Street
EPA ID# VA0002366946
4th Congressional District
Last Update: November 2005
No future updates
Unattributed Residential Soil Lead
Current Site Status
Site cleanup is complete. Soil excavation and restoration of 42 residential homes and 12 vacant lots is complete. Interior cleaning of residences with elevated interior dust concentrations is complete. The 2020 Chestnut Street Site cleanup was conducted in a manner consistent with the adjacent Abex Superfund Site. The strategy for the cleanup was developed with officials of the City of Portsmouth.
The 2020 Chestnut Street Site includes four residential blocks of mostly privately owned homes and properties. These residences are immediately south and west of the Abex National Priorities List Superfund Site. The four blocks are the 1900 block on the westside of Effingham Street, the 2000 & 2100 blocks on the eastside of Effingham, and the 2100 block on the westside of Chestnut Street (and a single vacant lot at 2020 Chestnut Street, hence the name.) The properties are contaminated with lead. The elevated soil-lead concentrations in these properties were discovered by Pneumo Abex Corporation during Remedial Investigation studies performed for the Abex Site under EPA's direction. Pneumo Abex Corporation concluded that the soil lead was not attributable to Abex or the Abex NPL Site. EPA is seeking to determine if the elevated soil-lead in the area is from an historic industrial source, like the former Abex foundry, or if the lead is from historic urban lead sources, like lead-based paint. In the interim, EPA and the City of Portsmouth have agreed to clean the contaminated properties (EPA will clean the properties using Superfund monies with the City's support) while awaiting determination of lead sources.
Site ResponsibilityAn EPA Superfund Removal Action is cleaning this site.
NPL Listing HistoryThis Site is not on the National Priorities List, but is closely related to the Abex Site, a National Priorities List Site, which is adjacent to the North. Soil-lead contamination is common to both sites.
Threats and Contaminants
The contaminant of concern is lead. Direct contact with lead-contaminated soils in this residential neighborhood was the principle threat and is now abated. However, direct contact and ingestion by children of interior dust containing elevated lead concentrations remains a concern in five houses where elevated lead-dust readings were discovered. Children in these 5 homes have been tested by the Portsmouth Health Department. Their blood lead readings are not elevated. Interior cleaning is considered necessary in order to prevent future exposure.
Since June 1998, EPA has removed 17,000 tons of lead contaminated soil from 42 residences and 12 additional vacant lots. Soil excavation was completed in March 1999. The properties have been restored with new lawns, fences, walks and driveways where necessary. Trees and shrubs have been replanted. EPA continues to make appropriate restorative repairs.
- December 1997 - EPA confirms elevated soil lead readings at 2020 Chestnut Street Site.
- April 1998 - EPA meets with Portsmouth officials to develop a joint cleanup and community outreach strategy.
- June 1998 - EPA excavates and restores 2020 Chestnut Street property.
- July 1998 - EPA sampling confirms elevated soil-lead in four blocks near 2020 Chestnut Street property.
- October 1998 - EPA begins excavation of 42 houses and 12 vacant lots in conjunction with City of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Health Department outreach effort. Residents are offered temporary relocation during soil excavation, although most decline.
- March 1999 - Soil excavation completed.
- April 1999 - Interior dust analyses of 42 houses revealed elevated interior dust in five homes. All five are slated for interior cleaning.
- June 1999 - Property restoration and interior cleaning to be completed.