West Calumet Housing Complex – East Chicago, Ind.
Site Update - Oct. 2017
The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the East Chicago Housing Authority have decided to demolish the former West Calumet Housing Complex – part of zone 1 of the Superfund site. All residents have moved out. EPA has been working closely with HUD to ensure demolition of the complex does not pose environmental or health risks to the surrounding neighborhoods. HUD has agreed to a number of safety measures including air-quality monitors, dust-control measures, truck-washing stations, stormwater run-off control, and street sweepers. EPA will review and comment on the demolition plan prior to work beginning. EPA will monitor the demolition to ensure the safety measures are effective.
EPA's initial record of decision, released in 2012, planned to clean up the contaminated soil at the housing complex without displacing residents or tearing down any buildings. As a result of the decision to demolish the complex, EPA is revising the feasibility study for zone 1 and evaluating revised cleanup options. The city of East Chicago has stated this parcel of land will be zoned as residential. When the revised feasibility study is complete, the public will have an opportunity to review and submit comments.
Advice for Residents
EPA has found high levels of lead in soil in parts of the West Calumet Housing Complex. Residents have been notified about results of sampling of soil around their homes. EPA community involvement coordinators have gone door-to-door warning residents not to allow children to play in dirt and providing information on ways to reduce exposure to possible lead in soil. Exposure to high levels of lead in soil can cause various health problems, especially in young children.
To ensure the health and safety of children, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, advises parents to prevent children from playing in dirt or mulch, to wash their children’s toys regularly and to wash children’s hands after they play outside. All residents should remove shoes before walking into their homes. ATSDR officials also recommend residents in the West Calumet Housing Complex not disturb the mulch or dig or garden in their yards.
West Calumet residents may have their children’s blood lead tested by calling the East Chicago Health Department at 219-391-8467.
To learn about preventing children’s exposure to lead, visit: Prevent Children’s Exposure to Lead
- Residents Guide to Temporary Relocation
- Drinking Water Safety: Information for East Chicago residents
- EPA’s Home Cleaning Process: What Residents Need to Know
- EPA Takes Action to Reduce Exposure to Lead in Soil
- Don't Let Kids Play in Dirt (English)
- Fact Sheets and Outreach Materials: USS Lead
Technical and Legal Documents
These are some of the key technical and legal documents. More are included in the administrative record.
Results of Lead and Arsenic Testing
EPA took soil samples from front and back yards at all residences in the complex starting in December 2014 and continuing into 2015. Personally identifiable information has been removed.