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West Calumet Housing Complex – East Chicago, Ind.

Site Update - Dec. 2016

From August through the first week of November, at the West Calumet Housing Complex, EPA officials:

  • Surveyed homes to get access agreements to conduct indoor sampling.
  • Sampled around 270 homes to determine indoor lead levels.
  • Temporarily relocated about 270 households to hotels and cleaned their homes.

November 2016 – EPA has completed cleaning most homes of residents in the West Calumet Housing Complex. This summer and fall, EPA reached out to residents to offer the opportunity to have their homes cleaned to significantly reduce the amount of lead dust. Residents of 270 homes accepted EPA’s offer and had their homes or furniture cleaned, 37 declined cleaning and the remaining homes in the complex were vacant. EPA will still clean homes that initially declined if residents change their minds.

August 2016 - EPA staff is in the area taking samples inside homes to find out whether lead-contaminated soil from the yards may have been tracked into homes. Several homes are being tested by collecting dust samples from flat surfaces, floors and carpets to see if there are high levels of lead indoors. With residents’ permission, sampling teams are using hand-held vacuums to suck up dust in areas of the homes most frequently used by family members such as front door entryways and bedrooms. Staff is also going door to door in other parts of the complex to ask residents if they are interested in having EPA clean their homes.

Samples are being sent to EPA-approved labs for analysis.  Letters will be sent to residents explaining the results as well as what to do next.

In July, EPA covered patches of bare dirt around the complex to provide a temporary, protective barrier.  Mulch was placed in yards and in a playground area in Goodman Park to help prevent lead-contaminated dirt from being tracked into homes.

These actions are part of a larger effort to clean up the USS Lead Superfund site.

Advice for Residents

Map of West Calumet Housing Complex - East Chicago - Ind.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

Fact Sheets

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.

Results of Lead and Arsenic Testing at West Calumet Housing Complex (Excel spreadsheet)(1 pg, 51 K)

West Calumet Housing Complex East Chicago photogalleryWest Calumet Housing Complex East Chicago photogallery

Site Update

August 2016 - EPA staff is in the area taking samples inside homes to find out whether lead-contaminated soil from the yards may have been tracked into homes. Several homes are being tested by collecting dust samples from flat surfaces, floors and carpets to see if there are high levels of lead indoors. With residents’ permission, sampling teams are using hand-held vacuums to suck up dust in areas of the homes most frequently used by family members such as front door entryways and bedrooms. Staff is also going door to door in other parts of the complex to ask residents if they are interested in having EPA clean their homes.

Samples are being sent to EPA-approved labs for analysis.  Letters will be sent to residents explaining the results as well as what to do next.

In July, EPA covered patches of bare dirt around the complex to provide a temporary, protective barrier.  Mulch was placed in yards and in a playground area in Goodman Park to help prevent lead-contaminated dirt from being tracked into homes.

These actions are part of a larger effort to clean up the USS Lead Superfund site.

Site Background

More information, including the Administrative Record, for the USS Lead Superfund site is available.