ATLANTA — Workers hired by the Environmental Protection Agency tested soil levels in Northwest Atlanta on Friday. The crews used excavators to remove the contaminated dirt.
“We do know this area has higher blood lead levels for children who have been sampled compared to other areas in the city of Atlanta,” said Tim Frederick, EPA Human Health risk assessor.
That’s why Atlanta’s Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods are now officially on the EPA’s Superfund national priorities list.
This means the Westside lead site will get a new stream of federal funding to help speed up the cleanup process.
“it’s not just about the cleanup, it’s about the danger,” said resident Rosario Hernandez,
The work to remediate properties in this area started in 2018, when an Emory researcher found dangerously high lead levels in Hernandez’s yard. She spoke with Channel 2′s Investigative team back in September 2021. She continues to be an advocate for her neighborhood.
“We’re living in a community that has such low test scores, kids are failing. What if it was just their environment they’re living in? So now we’re getting a clean slate because soil is being cleaned,” Hernandez said.
The EPA says the problem impacts roughly 2,000 properties on the west side. Only about 120 of those have been cleaned up and deemed safe. The entire cleanup project is estimated to take another sixyears and about $50 million.
“Our commitment is to no longer allow these communities to be looked past,” said Daniel Blackman, EPA regional administrator.
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