- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) - East Chicago officials say as many as 1,200 residents have been told it would be safer if they relocated from a housing complex in the city because of health risks from lead in the soil around their homes.

In a letter residents began receiving this week, Mayor Anthony Copeland said the Environmental Protection Agency recently informed the city and the East Chicago Housing Authority that the ground within the public housing complex had high levels of arsenic and lead.

“Now that we know the levels of lead in the ground in the West Calumet Housing Complex, we feel it is in your best interest to temporarily relocate your household to safer conditions,” the mayor’s letter said.

Copeland also said the housing authority is asking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to give vouchers for clean and safe housing as soon as possible.

“Even though this may be a great inconvenience to you, it’s necessary to protect you and your children from possible harm,” Copeland wrote in the letter.

Copeland ordered the East Chicago Health Department to offer lead testing to residents and their children, The Times of Northwest Indiana (https://bit.ly/2a7nKLX ) reported. About two-thirds of the residents advised to relocate are children.

Lead levels in the top 6 inches of the soil triggered the need for cleanup, and residents have been notified, according to Rachel Bassler, spokeswoman for EPA Region 5.

The neighborhood is part of a 79-acre U.S. EPA Superfund site that used to be home to the USS Lead facility.


Information from: The Times, https://www.thetimesonline.com

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