EPA set to begin cleanup of Indiana yards tainted with lead

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EAST CHICAGO, IN - SEPTEMBER 4: A sign displayed in a front yard request that residents keep fro playing in the dirt or mulch at the West Calumet Housing Complex on September 4, 2016 in East Chicago, Indiana. The soil at the complex has been found to contain high levels of lead and arsenic putting all residents in danger if exposed to the elements. Over 1,000 residents are being asked by the East Chicago Housing Authority to relocate, after plans were decided to demolish the housing complex. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to begin removing soil this weekend from northwest Indiana residential properties contaminated with hazardous levels of lead and arsenic.

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports (http://bit.ly/2dOEU74 ) the cleanup is scheduled to start Sunday and targets 19 homes in East Chicago where soil tested for the highest concentrations of pollutants. Several hundred other yards will be addressed next year.

The work is taking place in the easternmost portion of the city’s Calumet neighborhood, known as zone 3 of a large EPA Superfund cleanup site. The area was contaminated by smelters that operated for decades.

Most of the recent attention has focused on a public housing complex built over a former lead facility in another part of the site where residents have been ordered to leave.