Councilman David James requests meeting with EPA

This afternoon, the office of District 6 Councilman David James sent an email to the EPA’s Region 4 office demanding a community meeting. This is in regard to contamination found in the yards of those living near the Black Leaf chemical site in west Louisville, now a Superfund site.

LEO first reported on the legacy of Black Leaf in January.

From that article:

In November, the EPA hosted a community meeting to explain what’s going on: From the 1920s through the 1950s, several companies formulated pesticides at the site. Now-banned toxic substances like DDT, dieldrin and benzene hexachloride were all used at the facility. A half-century later, soil samples taken in 2010 showed high levels of pesticides remain.

Surface soil directly adjacent to the main manufacturing building had the most potent levels — anywhere from 200 to 18,000 times the concentration level that would normally alert the EPA to a likely contamination problem.

Smaller amounts of pesticides were also found close to homes, as were heavy metals like arsenic and lead. One sample from an alley showed a lead concentration at almost twice what the EPA considers in need of cleanup. The arsenic level was up to five times higher. Heavy metals are common in the industrial manufacturing of pesticides.

Both The Courier-Journal and WFPL reported this morning that yards tested near the 29-acre industrial site did indeed show contamination. This from the C-J:

The yards of all 50 homes tested near the Black Leaf industrial site in Louisville have been found to have elevated levels of toxic pollutants, including some known or suspected cancer agents, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed Monday.

For nine of the homes, or nearly 20 percent, the concentrations were high enough to normally prompt a cleanup, said Art Smith, the on-scene coordinator for the EPA.

A spokesperson for James’ office says the EPA must communicate to residents the findings in real, non-scientific jargon. Also, community leaders want to press the EPA to ensure all neighborhoods that should be tested for toxins will be. The meeting should occur in the next 10 days.

This afternoon LEO spoke with Marvin Hayes. He’s lived next door to the fenced industrial site for 30 years. He says he’s not getting overly anxious, but he doesn’t have peace of mind either.

“I’ve been living it for 30-some years. There’s no sense in me getting riled up or nothing like that … I know they ain’t going to do nothing for this kind of neighborhood. I mean the EPA might do their part. Whatever it is it’s going to be minimum, just to the regulations. It ain’t going to be nothing to the residents’ favor …”

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  1. [...] sent an email to the agency this morning, as first reported by LEO Weekly. Legislative aid Rob Holtzmann confirmed the email, and said James wants the agency to meet with [...]