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Logan Section Contamination

Fact Sheet November 1999

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun an Assessment of the Logan Section Site

Map: Logan Section is bordered by North 11th Street, West Louden Street, North Marshall Street, and Roosevelt Boulevard.

The Logan Section Site was the scene of several hundred homes that were demolished by the City of Philadelphia as a result of subsidence posing a danger of collapse. The site comprises a seventeen- block area in the lower northeast section of Philadelphia, bordered by Roosevelt Boulevard and Marshall Street on the east and southeast; Wingohocking Street on the south; 11th Street on the west; and Louden Street on the north. The site now consists of vacant open lots where adults and children walk, and where several cars have been abandoned.

Why is EPA Taking Action at this Site?

In February 1999, the City requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to sample and analyze the surface soil at the Logan Site. The results indicated above-normal concentrations of lead and mercury. The City conducted further sampling and analysis for lead in March 1999 and May 1999. The results of these tests showed elevated levels of lead and arsenic in the surface materials. The City notified residents of the surrounding area that the levels found did not constitute an immediate health risk, but rather posed a potential, chronic, or long term health hazard. The City recommended that residents wash their hands after contact with the soil. Additional sampling for arsenic was performed in August 1999, with contrary results. Samples were taken from the six areas on the site that had shown the highest levels of arsenic, those arsenic levels were found to be significantly lower than in the earlier round.

After the residents of the Logan area were informed of the results of the May 1999 sampling, they requested EPA involvement. In an August 27, 1999 letter to Sen. Rick Santorum, the Logan/Olney Coalition, representing community leaders of the Logan area, requested an EPA investigation and "emergency cleanup" of the Logan Site. The Logan Assistance Corporation has joined the request, as has the City.

Is Public Health at Risk?

EPA believes that the Site currently poses no threat to public health. EPA's initial response, thus far, is to gather soil samples and have them analyzed for possible contamination. EPA does agree with the City that all persons that come into contact with the soil should practice proper hygiene and wash their hands prior to handling food and such. This is just a precautionary measure.

Ongoing site air monitoring and testing have shown that no harmful airborne contamination is leaving the site.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and EPA's Lead experts will be providing on-site assistance to the EPA in the areas of health risk assessment and the ongoing review of environmental sampling data.

How are EPA Actions Controlling this Site?

EPA has not taken any controlling measures as of yet. Once the data comes back from the laboratory, EPA will take the appropriate measures to ensure that no one will come into contact with the soil should it be contaminated.

What are EPA's Plans?

EPA is awaiting the results of the sampling assessment that was conducted on November 8, 1999 thru November 10, 1999. These results should be back from the lab in approximately 6-8 weeks. At that time, EPA will present these results to the City and make the appropriate recommendations. EPA will keep the community residents informed, explain the results of the tests, and describe the actions it plans to take.

What Can I Do?

Until EPA completes its assessment and provides more specific recommendations, EPA requests that all residents refrain from walking on these lots. Please inform your children that they should not play on theses lots. Encourage them to wash their hands as a precautionary measure before eating. Additionally, it is requested that no gardening be done in this area. For more information please contact:

Robert F. Kelly
EPA On-Scene Coordinator

Harold Yates
Community Involvement Coordinator

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