Proposed plans will address lead and other heavy metal contamination in private domestic drinking water wells in residential properties
LENEXA, KAN. (JULY 19, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed interim groundwater cleanup plans in private domestic drinking water wells at residential properties at Washington County Lead District (WCLD) Superfund sites in the Southwest. east of Missouri. The WCLD includes four sites on the National Priority List (NPL): Furnace Creek, Old Mines, Potosi and Richwoods.
Proposed plans include installing point-of-use treatment systems with institutional controls and health education as an interim measure. EPA will continue the remediation investigation and feasibility study process to examine potential alternatives to remediation of the aquifer that is the source of the contaminated well water and to identify a final remedy.
“Protecting our communities from the devastating effects of lead exposure is a national priority for the EPA,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Ensuring the availability of clean water to homes in Washington County will promote healthier lives and prevent lifelong adverse effects on children, our most vulnerable population.”
Conduct is the primary contaminant of concern at WCLD sites, although cadmium, arsenic and barium may be elevated in some wells. Point-of-use treatment systems, also known as drinking water filters, will remove lead and other heavy metals from drinking water at the tap.
The EPA is organizing a public comment period on the proposed plans from July 19, 2022 through August 18, 2022. As part of the comment period, the EPA encourages residents to attend one of the next two public meetings.
Thursday, July 21, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.the EPA will hold a VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING share information and provide an opportunity for public comment on proposed plans for 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, go to Zoom website.
Monday, July 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.the EPA will hold a IN-PERSON PUBLIC MEETING to Washington County LibraryLower 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 made at 5:30 p.m.
Written comments, questions about the plans or requests for information on the site can be addressed to: Elizabeth Kramer, Community Engagement Coordinator, Office of Public Affairs (ORA/OPA), US EPA Region 7, 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, KS 66219; E-mail: [email protected]; telephone: 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, especially to children under 7, and to pregnant women and nursing mothers. Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults because their nervous system is still developing. Children can introduce lead into their bodies by putting their hands or toys in their mouths after touching lead-contaminated dirt and dust.
Children can be exposed to lead in their environment and before birth through lead in their mother’s body. At the lower levels of exposure, lead may impair mental development, particularly learning, intelligence, and behavior. Physical growth may also be diminished. A child who swallows large amounts of lead can develop anemia, severe stomach pain, muscle weakness, and brain damage. Lead exposure during pregnancy can also lead to premature births. Some effects of lead poisoning in a child may persist into adulthood. Lead is listed by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen and is a cumulative toxicant which affects several bodily systems.
It is important that children under the age of 7 are tested annuallybecause children with lead poisoning don’t always look or act sick. The only way to know if your child has high blood lead is to have their blood tested. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check if you or your child are exposed to lead. Talk to your pediatrician, GP or local health agency about having your child tested. To arrange for your children’s lead screening, please contact the Washington County Department of Health in Potosi at 636-797-3737. Learn more about their website.
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