November 12, 2018

EPA Plans Soil Removal At East Chicago Complex

FILE PHOTO: Crews began tearing down a portion of the West Calumet Housing Complex on April 2. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to remove 2 feet of lead- and arsenic-contaminated soil at the site. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News, File

FILE PHOTO: Crews began tearing down a portion of the West Calumet Housing Complex on April 2. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to remove 2 feet of lead- and arsenic-contaminated soil at the site.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News, File

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to remove 2 feet (0.6 meters) of lead- and arsenic-contaminated soil at the site of a northwestern Indiana public housing that's been evacuated and demolished over health concerns.

The agency estimates the cleanup project at the East Chicago's West Calumet Housing Complex will cost about $26 million. It would involve removing more than 160,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil.

More than 300 families were forced from the complex after 2016 tests found high lead levels in blood samples from some children. The site was occupied decades ago by a lead-products factory.

Mayor Anthony Copeland has told the EPA that he's seeking commercial or industrial development for the site, while advocates for former West Calumet residents argue new housing should be built there.

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