The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking to interview people who live or work near the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago as part of a 5-year cleanup review.
The EPA is asking for people who live in Zone 2 and Zone 3 of the Superfund site to volunteer for in-person, phone and virtual interviews in June.
The agency will use the interviews as part of its review, which will evaluate whether the cleanup at the site is working and complies with EPA guidance and regulations.
The site, located in the Calumet neighborhood of the city, was the former home of multiple lead smelters and refineries in the 20th century.
Toxic levels of lead and arsenic were found at the former facility sites and in the soil of homes located near those sites in the 1980s, but state and federal agencies did not begin a full cleanup until 2008, when the site was added to the National Priorities List, a list of the most contaminated areas in the U.S.
Blood testing in 2016 revealed children living at the West Calumet Housing Complex, a public housing complex built atop the former Anaconda Lead Products facility, had elevated blood lead levels, which federal agencies concluded was due to soil-based contamination.
The complex was demolished in 2018, and the property was remediated. The parts of the Superfund site that housed the complex, the former Carrie Gosch Elementary school and residential areas to the east of the facility were removed from the National Priorities List in 2020.
The in-person and phone interviews will be held June 21 and 22. Virtual interviews will be held June 23.
In-person interviews will be held in tents outside the front door of the former Carrie Gosch Elementary school at 455 E. 148th St. Masks will be required and social distancing will be observed.
To schedule an interview, contact EPA contractor Cheryl Vaccarello by email or by calling 312-201-7791.
Interviews can also be held in Spanish by contacting Heriberto Léon by email or by calling 312-886-6163.