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Omaha Lead

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Site Description

The Omaha Lead Site, located in Omaha, Nebraska, includes surface soil present at residential properties, child care facilities, schools, and other residential-type properties in eastern Omaha. Exact site boundaries have yet to be defined. However the total source area used to calculate the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) score is estimated to cover 8,840 acres, including approximately 65,615 residents.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • In 1998, the Omaha City Council solicited assistance from EPA to address problems with lead contamination in the Omaha area; this was prompted by clean-up activities at the ASARCO facility. ASARCO (located on approximately 23 acres on the west bank of the Missouri River in downtown Omaha) was a lead-refining plant which operated from the early 1870s until 1996. During the operational period, lead and other heavy metals were emitted into the atmosphere through smoke stacks. The pollutants were transported downwind in various directions and deposited on the ground surface.
  • Soil testing of approximately 22,000 residential properties has revealed widespread lead contamination over eastern Omaha. The lead contamination, at concentrations that pose a risk to children six years of age and younger, is found only in surface soils (within eight inches of the ground surface). Additionally, the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) has been screening children for lead poisoning for approximately 20 years. Lead is classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen and is a cumulative toxicant.
  • The site was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) on April 30, 2004 and the proposed plan is available for public comment from July 16 until November 1, 2004. The Record of Decision (ROD) is planned to be completed by December 31, 2004.
  • EPA began testing residential soil in March 1999. Cleanup of child care facilities and homes of children with an elevated blood lead level (EBLs) began in August 1999. The scope of the cleanup activities were later expanded to include highly contaminated residential properties (1,200 mg/kg or greater).

Current Funding Status

  • EPA has spent $15.7 million as of June 30, 2004. All but $3 million of this amount was from EPA funds. The ASARCO trust fund awarded the Omaha Lead site $1 million in 2003 and $2 million in 2004.

For more information on the projects at this site, please read the Omaha Lead Fact Sheet on the Region 7 Superfund Web site.

Key Accomplishments

  • As of October 2004, EPA has tested the soil at 22,000 residential properties and completed cleanup at 668 residential properties. The cleanup involves removal of up to12 inches of contaminated soil from a property, replacing it with clean soil, and replanting the yard with sod.
  • EPA has spent $15.7 million as of June 30, 2004. All but $3 million of this amount was from EPA funds. The ASARCO trust fund awarded the Omaha Lead site $1 million in 2003 and $2 million in 2004.

 

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