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Hyman Viener

Fact Sheet #1, March 1995


The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III (EPA) prepared this fact sheet to inform interested citizens about activities at the Hyman Viener Superfund Site. This fact sheet contains information about:


Prior to 1940, the property had been used to manufacture clay bricks. Hyman-Viener and Sons (Hyman-Viener) purchased the property in 1940 and converted it to a lead foundry. In 1941, Hyman-Viener began lead smelting operations using a coke furnace which produced a lead waste. Hyman-Viener used the waste to fill in holes dug on site by the former owner.

In the late 1950's, Hyman-Viener replaced the coke furnace with a furnace that used natural gas and generated a flue-dust waste. For approximately 10 years, until the late 1960's, Hyman-Viener used no controls on the lead dust emanating from the furnace stacks. In the late 1960's, they installed baghouses to trap the dust and stored the bags on site until they were recycled through the furnace. Hyman-Viener stopped operating the plant in 1983.

In 1984, reusable lead material and most of the salvageable equiment was shipped to another smelter. In February 1985, Hyman-Viener collected 130 soil samples from the Site. Analysis of the soil samples revealed lead levels ranging from 1 part per million (ppm) to 155 ppm. Parts per million is a unit of measurement. For example, one gallon of solvent in one million gallons of water is one part per million.

Based on the results of national studies on the health effects of lead conducted by the Centers for Disease Control which lowered the acceptable levels of lead in soil, EPA conducted environmental testing of the soil at the facility in 1993. Levels of lead detected by EPA were as high as 200,000 ppm. Because of the high levels of lead in and around the facility and the nearness of residential areas, EPA began removal actions at the site in October 1993.


EPA's initial removal actions concentrated on stabilizing the soils at the Site and determining the extent of the contamination. EPA excavated a 50 by 1000 foot portion of the Site and backfilled it with gravel to control runoff of highly contaminated soils and surface water. EPA also installed silt fencing to prevent further migration of contamination.

EPA conducted the extent of contamination survey in three phases. Phase I concentrated on the Hyman Viener facility and involved sampling soils, surface water, and ground water. The results of phase I revealed extensive contamination of surface soils with lead, arsenic, and antimony; contamination of subsurface soils with lead and petroleum hydrocarbons; and contamination of ground and surface water with lead.

In phase II, EPA sampled soil in 500 foot intervals radiating out from the facility in all directions. The samples revealed that the contamination decreased with distance from the facility. EPA found a similar pattern when sampling residences in the Fulton Hill area of Richmond and the Marion Hill area of Henrico County in Phase III of the Extent of Contamination Survey.

EPA has determined that the lead contamination in the surface soils at the Hyman Viener Site is a threat to humans who may accidentally ingest the soils. Additionally, the Site is a possible source of surface water and ground water contamination.


Based on the results of the Extent of Contamination Survey, EPA will be cleaning approximately 72 homes in the Fulton Hill and Marion Hill area. EPA has already contacted those residents whose homes will be cleaned. EPA will:

Due to the increased risk of exposure caused by moving the soil, residents cannot stay on the property while EPA is conducting the cleanup. EPA will pay for accommodations at a nearby hotel. Residents can expect to be away from their homes for about two days.

EPA will also resample approximately 50 homes whose contamination levels were just below the health based limit and assess whether the homes should be cleaned.

EPA will coordinate community outreach efforts with the City of Richmond and Henrico County officials to ensure that all residents are kept informed throughout the project. EPA will meet individually with residents and hold a public meeting before beginning any work as well as distribute another fact sheet detailing the clean-up procedures.


The most common way that people in the United States are exposed to lead is by ingesting dusts and soils. In children, lead poisoning can damage the brain and nervous system, cause behavior and learning problems, impair hearing, slow development, and reduce attention span. Lead affects pregnant women by causing premature deliveries, lower birthrate, and, in extreme cases, miscarriage or stillbirth. In adults, lead poisoning can cause mood changes, muscle and joint pain, nerve disorders, and reproductive damage. It also can cause high blood pressure.


Please Contact

Vance Evans
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
215-814-5526 or 800-553-2509

Leave a message with your name and number.
Be sure to specify the HymanViener Site.


The Superfund removal process deals with sites which pose an immediate threat to the community. Site Discovery is the first step in the Removal Process, when EPA learns of an area from the state, local emergency services, or concerned citizens. The Richmond City Health Department alerted EPA to the conditions at the Hyman Viener Site. Following Site Discovery, EPA conducts a Removal Assessment to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the Site. If the conditions at the Site pose an immediate danger to the community, EPA will act to remedy those conditions. For example, EPA excavated and backfilled portions of the Site to control runoff of contaminated soils and surface water. EPA also will be conducting clean-up activities at individual properties which have soil lead levels in excess of health-based limits. This removal action will eliminate the threat that the Site poses to the surrounding community.


The Hyman Viener Site is a former lead foundry that encompasses approximately seven acres at 5300 Hatcher Street in southeastern Richmond, Virginia. The Site is located on the border of the City of Richmond and Henrico County. The CSX Railroad Yard borders the Site to the south and west. A scrap metal yard borders it to the north and a residential area to the east. Highly developed residential and commercial sections are within a three-mile radius of the Site. The maps to the left and below provides more detail on the site and the surrounding area.


EPA has established an Information Repository in the community near the Hyman Viener Site. EPA establishes Information Repositories to provide citizens with an opportunity to review site-related reports and documents. EPA usually establishes the repositories at public places such as libraries or town halls near the site to allow easier access by citizens. The Information Repository will house public information about the Hyman Viener Site, including the results of the studies that have been completed to date and fact sheets such as this one. The Hyman Viener Information Repository is the:

City of Richmond
Eastern District Office
701 North 25th Street
Richmond, Virginia
Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Contact: Charlette Woolridge


Vance Evans (3EA30)
Community Involvement Facilitator
EPA Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
215-814-5526 or 800-553-2509

Chris Wagner (3HW31)
On-Scene Coordinator
EPA Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Superfund |EPA Home | EPA Superfund Homepage

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