Proposed Plans will address lead and other heavy metal contamination in private, domestic drinking water wells at residential properties
July 19, 2022
LENEXA, KAN. (JULY 19, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed interim cleanup plans for groundwater in private, domestic drinking water wells at residential properties at the Washington County Lead District (WCLD) Superfund Sites in southeastern Missouri. The WCLD includes four sites on the National Priorities List (NPL): Furnace Creek, Old Mines, Potosi and Richwoods.
The Proposed Plans call for the installation of point-of-use treatment systems with institutional controls and health education as an interim action. EPA will continue the remedial investigation and feasibility study process in order to review potential alternatives to remediating the aquifer that is the source of the contaminated well water, and to identify a final remedy.
“Protecting our communities from the devastating impacts of lead exposure is a national priority for EPA,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Ensuring the availability of clean drinking water for Washington County homes will promote healthier lives and prevent lifelong adverse impacts to children, our most vulnerable population.”
Lead is the primary contaminant of concern at the WCLD Sites, although cadmium, arsenic and barium may be elevated in some wells. The point-of-use treatment systems, also known as drinking water filters, will remove lead and other heavy metals from drinking water at the tap.
EPA is holding a public comment period on the Proposed Plans from July 19, 2022, through Aug. 18, 2022. As part of the comment period, EPA encourages residents to attend one of two upcoming Public Meetings.
On Thursday, July 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., EPA will hold a VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING to share information and offer a public comment opportunity on the Proposed Plans for the WCLD Sites. The event will be hosted by EPA with a presentation at 6 p.m., followed by an opportunity for oral and written comments to be transcribed into the record. To register, visit the Zoom website.
On Monday, July 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., EPA will hold an IN-PERSON PUBLIC MEETING at the Washington County Library, Lower Level, 235 E. High St., Potosi, MO 63664. The meeting agenda will be the same as the Virtual Public Meeting, except the EPA presentation will be delivered at 5:30 p.m.
Written comments, questions about the plans, or requests for site information can be directed to: Elizabeth Kramer, Community Involvement Coordinator, Office of Public Affairs (ORA/OPA), U.S. EPA Region 7, 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, KS 66219; email: [email protected]; phone: 913-551‑7186; toll-free: 1-800-223-0425.
Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed and can pose serious health risks, particularly to children under 7 years old, as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers. Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults because their nervous systems are still developing. Children can get lead into their bodies by putting their hands or toys in their mouths after touching lead-contaminated soil and dust.
Children can be exposed to lead in their environment and before birth from lead in their mother’s body. At lower levels of exposure, lead can decrease mental development, especially learning, intelligence and behavior. Physical growth may also be decreased. A child who swallows large amounts of lead may develop anemia, severe stomachache, muscle weakness, and brain damage. Exposure to lead during pregnancy can also result in premature births. Some effects of lead poisoning in a child may continue into adulthood. Lead is classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen and is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems.
It is important that children under 7 be tested annually, because lead-poisoned children do not always look or act sick. The only way to know if your child has elevated blood lead levels is to have his or her blood tested. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check your child, or you, for lead exposure. Talk to your pediatrician, general physician, or local health agency about testing your child. To arrange for lead screening of your children, please contact the Washington County Health Department in Potosi at 636-797-3737. Learn more on their website.
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