May 28, 2020

Zoning Change Means Less Cleanup On East Chicago Superfund Area

Article origination IPBS-RJC
A sign outside the demolished West Calumet Housing Complex in late 2019.  - FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake/WTIU

A sign outside the demolished West Calumet Housing Complex in late 2019.

FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake/WTIU

A zoning change for part of the USS Lead Superfund site likely means less arsenic and lead contaminated soil will get cleaned up there. On Monday, the East Chicago city council voted 8-1 to allow the site of the former West Calumet Public Housing Complex to go from residential zoning to industrial. 

This paves the way for the company interested in buying the land, Industrial Development Advantage, LLC, to move ahead with its plans. But it also means that the party responsible for the contamination doesn’t have to clean the site to higher, residential standards.

READ MORE: Industrial Company Could Move To Site Of Former East Chicago Housing Complex

Several Calumet neighborhood residents are worried a less-stringent cleanup could lead to more problems down the road. People who were forced out of the former housing complex were also told they would be able to move back in one day. With the new zoning, that seems unlikely.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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