- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) - Water donations have poured in for residents living in a lead-contaminated area of East Chicago considered a Superfund site.

Volunteers have been delivering two cases of 12-ounce water bottles per household each day for about a month, according to Wanda Gordils, who is leading the Community Strategy Group’s drinking water distribution effort.

Gordils told The (Northwest Indiana) Times (https://bit.ly/2lPaXrG ) that volunteers planned to start dropping off three cases per household.

Organizers estimated that about 1,000 cases of water will be needed daily to meet the needs of residents, said Frank Szczepanski of the Blue Valpo Water Drive.

The water drive is focused only on residents within the USS Lead Superfund site, which includes the entire Calumet neighborhood. Those residents face a greater risk of exposure to lead through their soil, water and lead paint because most of the homes were built before 1978.

Officials have said up to 90 percent of the water lines in East Chicago could be lead. The Environmental Protection Agency has recommended anyone on the city water system use a certified filter on their taps.

Lead in the water isn’t related to the lead- and arsenic-contaminated soil that displaced hundreds of families in the West Calumet Housing Complex this summer. The EPA shelved plans last summer to excavate soil at the housing complex and at Carrie Gosch Elementary School after the city ordered residents to move out. Officials say about 100 residents remained the complex as of Friday.

EPA began excavating contaminated soil from around homes in the middle and eastern parts of the neighborhood. Residents in those areas haven’t been told to relocate.


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

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