U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt visited the USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, Ind., to discuss cleanup and hear directly from East Chicago residents affected by contamination in their community. Administrator Pruitt was joined by Governor Eric Holcomb, Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Congressman Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), as well as Indiana State Senator Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) and State Representative Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago).
Pruitt is the first EPA Administrator to visit the USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, which was listed on the National Priorities List of the worst contaminated sites in the country in 2009. The site includes part of the former USS Lead facility along with nearby commercial, municipal and residential areas, including the West Calumet public housing complex.
“I’m focused on getting EPA back to the basics of protecting human health and the environment, and one of my top priorities is delivering real results for the people of East Chicago,” said Administrator Pruitt. “Since I was sworn in as administrator, funding has been secured for drinking water infrastructure upgrades in East Chicago, filters and bottled water have been provided to residents and cleanup of contaminated soil has resumed. I was glad to witness some of this work firsthand today and hear from residents who are rightfully concerned with the cleanup of their community. Their concerns were heard loud and clear, and I am committed to ensuring that the EPA works with our federal, state and local partners to find solutions that protect the health and safety of East Chicago.”
The EPA has taken the following actions to expedite cleanup at the USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago under Administrator Pruitt’s leadership:
• East Chicago is receiving $16.5 million in EPA State Revolving Fund (SRF) funding for drinking water infrastructure upgrades.
• EPA, the state and the city are working together to coordinate lead service line replacement with cleanup work to expedite completion of the work and minimize disruptions.
• EPA provided 54 homes with filters and bottled water while Superfund work was underway at those properties in Zones 2 and 3. This year, Indiana will distribute filters to all residents in Zones 2 and 3.
• This week, EPA resumed cleanup work in Zones 2 and 3 after the agency reached an agreement with several potentially responsible parties to fund part of this work at an estimated value of $16 million.
• This year, EPA plans to remove contaminated soil at an estimated 73 high priority properties in Zone 2
• This year in Zone 3, EPA plans to clean up the yards at an estimated 120 properties. EPA will also test inside each home and conduct thorough cleanings as needed.