Mr. Scott Nally
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049
Dear Director Nally:
I write in regard to a recent series of articles in USA Today (attached) highlighting the public health risks associated with high levels of residual lead contamination in communities across the nation. The series suggested that many children are exposed to elevated lead concentrations--well above allowable safe levels for children--because they unknowingly live near and play in contaminated soil.
In 2001, a study was released citing 430 previously unidentified former, secondary lead smelting facilities in 35 states; 17 of which are in Ohio, including nine in greater Cleveland. These sites and surrounding properties may potentially be contaminated with high levels of lead as a result of previously unregulated operations which took place at these shuttered factories. In particular, the USA Today piece highlighted the Tyroler Metals site in Cleveland.
Following the report--and as part of an initiative to identify sites of former lead smelters in the Cleveland area--a 2002 investigation (attached) of the Tyroler Metals site was conducted by Ohio EPA's Division of Emergency and Remedial Response (DERR). The investigation found elevated lead levels surrounding the site and noted that it was possible there were other potential sources for the lead found in the areas soil besides the smelter. Based on these findings, OEPA recommended that USEPA "not undertake any further remedial activities at the site, at this time" despite samples that contained lead levels more than four times EPA's residential hazard level for lead.
It is my understanding that this was the last substantial action taken related to the 2001 report on industrial lead smelters. It is critical that families living near the other smelters around the state are made aware of possible health concerns. As such, I request an update on the status of remediation efforts at the remaining sites and if there will be renewed efforts to cleanup the areas surrounding the Tyroler Metals site in Cleveland.
I appreciate your attention to this very important matter.