Home > News > Sandoval Superfund Cleanup Will Likely Cover Half of Residential Properties in Town

Sandoval Superfund Cleanup Will Likely Cover Half of Residential Properties in Town

July 13, 2017

Federal Environmental Protection Agency officials say they expect a cleanup of soil to be needed at about half the homes in Sandoval as a result of lead and heavy metal contamination from the former Zinc Smelter plant.

Residents of the community and the Sandoval Village Board received an update on the Superfund project Tuesday night. Eight properties that were found to have high levels of lead were earlier cleaned up, but the acceptable level of lead in the soil has been reduced requiring the additional action.

Sandoval Mayor Pam Gelsinger said action began Tuesday to remove any problems at the village park.

“We are going to take the necessary steps, which is to fill any bare spots with dirt. Around our pavilions Where there is rock we’re going to put more rock. We are going to mow the grass less at a longer cut,” said Gelsinger. “We’re assured by the EPA that we need to do to prevent contamination to any children.”

EPA Remedial Project Manager Michael Berkoff says the rest of the park, including the ballfield, all tested well below any level of concern.

He reports a plan will be developed and a hearing held on the proposal next year, with finalization in 2019. Berkhoff says at that point he says there will be further testing of most properties in town.

“We will be sampling each individual property finding out if there is contamination there that needs to be addressed,” said Berkoff. “We’ll work with each individual property owner to develop a design for their particular property. We’ll look at the features of their properties like trees, shrubs, plants and then make sure we restore it in such a way to bring it back to its original condition”.

Berkoff says the situation in Sandoval is complicated because blowing dust through the air isn’t the only concern. There have been multiple reports of the slag from the plant being used to fill low spots on properties around town.

Michelle Colledge of the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry explains children are most at risk from lead poisoning because their bodies can’t handle it.

“Smaller amounts like dust would effect developmental behavior mostly. Even at these low levels if you have prenatal exposure or if you have a child who is exposed that could affect their mental and physical growth,” said Colledge. “IQ is also something we see that is affected by childhood lead exposure.”

Colledge notes adults can much easily eliminate lead from their bodies than children. She encourages any parent concerned about their child being effected by lead poisoning to take them to the Marion County Health Department for a simple lead test.

Berkoff says the Zink Smelter owners went bankrupt, but the EPA is still trying to determine if others who brought items to the plant should be responsible for paying for some of the cleanup cost.

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