EPA Finds Lead High Levels Around Smelter Despite Cleanups for Past Decade

HERCULANEUM, Mo., Oct. 28 (UPI) — More than 100 properties near a Missouri smelter that have been through cleanup in the past decade have high levels of lead in the soil, federal regulators say.

Testing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found lead levels at more than 400 parts per million in 129 properties near the Doe Run Smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Of these properties, 104 have had soil remediation.

“While Doe Run has taken some steps in recent years to reduce lead emissions, those efforts clearly fall short of what was necessary,” EPA acting Regional Administrator William Rice said in a statement. “The recontamination we are seeing in Herculaneum is unacceptable.”

Doe Run argued the testing shows the problem is not that severe. Officials said if test results are averaged on each property, only 29 have lead levels above 400 parts per million, the limit the EPA considers safe.

Many of those 29 properties are in a zone where the company has offered buyouts to the owners.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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