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Wells and Matos Coauthor Presentation on Exide Lead Contamination

By LEA Environmental, Inc. on Apr 16, 2019 at 08:16 PM in LEA Announcements
Wells and Matos Give Presentation on Exide Lead Contamination Block-by-block lead data for residential soils near the former Exide secondary lead smelter.

The shallow soil of up to 10,000 homes is believed to be contaminated with lead from the Exide secondary lead smelter in Vernon, California. Battery recycling had been conducted at this site from 1922 until 2014. Starting in about 2014, off-site sampling indicated that residential areas surrounding Exide may have been impacted by lead fallout from the facility’s air emissions. Eventually, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) identified a Preliminary Investigation Area (PIA) that extends approximately 1.7 miles radially from the former Exide facility, thought to contain elevated levels of lead in shallow soil due to Exide’s releases. It is well known that exposure to even low levels of lead in the environment can pose public health problems, especially for children. Elevated blood lead levels in children are associated with neurological problems, learning problems, hyperactivity and anemia. In 2016, Governor Brown signed legislation that directed $176.6 million in state funds to expedite and expand testing and cleanup of residential properties, schools, daycare centers and parks around the former Exide facility. DTSC embarked on a characterization program which eventually resulted in an extraordinary database of more than 325,000 samples from 8,500 homes and all of the schools and daycare centers within the PIA. The Exide PIA database provides an unprecedented resource for assessment of urban soil quality. Interpretation of this data is complex: in addition to naturally-occurring lead, urban environments may also be affected by other sources of lead including legacy lead-based paint, legacy fallout from leaded gasoline and, possibly, other regional industrial sources. In this paper, we explore the spatial variability of the residential data to better understand fate and transport of airborne lead in an urban environment. The database is also an important resource for inquiries into natural and urban background and source attribution.

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Director of Environmental Programs
Naval Facilities Engineering Command