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City says air tests show no lead contamination in area affected by controlled burn

residents watch a controlled burn of a house on South High Street last Friday.

(Courtesy photo)

Air tests in the area affected by the Nov. 5 controlled burn on South High Street showed no lead dust contamination, according to a press release from the city.

The tests were conducted by Environmental Assurance Company, Inc., and VET Environmental Engineering, the two companies contracted by the city to clean up lead-contaminated paint chips and ash that fell on the area from the burn.

The air tests, which are required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, consisted of employees wearing devices that took constant air readings during their entire shift working in the area, according to the release. It also said surface wipe samplings taken prior to the rain on Nov. 11 also had non-detectable lead levels.

Testing results of soil samples and other materials collected last week in the affected areas are expected to be available by week’s end to provide more information about lead levels,” the release said.

The release said testing was conducted throughout the area defined in the map created by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the city that was released last week.

EACI and VET are performing a second round of remediation on the affected area this week, after first going through the area last week.

“The contractor teams are focusing on removing any remaining debris from surfaces that people - and pets - most frequently come in contact with, including sidewalks, driveways, hand railings, mailboxes, playsets, patios, and decks.  Crews are also performing general yard cleanup, with an emphasis on food-producing gardens and play areas.”

Remediation is expected to be completed by the end of the week.

The release said residents can rake leaves for vacuum collection by the city, which will be tested to determine how to dispose of them.

“We have consulted with public health officials and based on the current data and work completed, the homeowners should be able to proceed with fall lawn care as they normally would,” Monroe County Health Administrator Penny Caudill said in the release.  “Wearing gloves, washing up when the work is done and perhaps wearing a mask should allow the work to be done with little, if any risk.”

Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore will make a presentation about the impacts from the controlled burn during the city’s Board of Public Safety meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. The meeting will be on Zoom.

The city’s contracts with EACI and VET are for around $118,000, although the city said that number could change. The money will come out of the fire department’s 2021 budget.

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