Contaminated soil to be removed from Park Hill neighborhood - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Contaminated soil to be removed from Park Hill homes

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- State environmental officials plan to remove contaminated soil from 69 homes in the Park Hill neighborhood.  The homes are located near the old Black Leaf Plant off Dixie Highway.

Contaminated soil was discovered three years ago when state officials were reviewing land in the area for possible development. 

Signs on the fence surrounding the former pesticide factory says "Contaminated area. Avoid contact with soil and water".

Marvin Hayes moved next door to the factory in 1982.

He used to grow food in a garden in his front yard. He has now stopped doing that.

"Right now I'm planting in the pots, and not planting as much as I used to," says Marvin Hayes.

 That's because Kentucky environmental officials took soil samples from homes in the neighborhood last year, after it was discovered several years ago that soil at the nearby factory was contaminated.

"And it includes a number of organic chemicals, and to a lesser degree, lead pesticides and arsenic," says Dick Brown, spokesman for the Energy and Environment Cabinet.

One contaminant found is known as a potential cancer causing agent.

That concerns Marvin Hayes.

"We're not trying to say it came from here, but all we know is she came down here healthy," says Marvin Hayes.

His wife is among the people in the neighborhood who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Officials can't say whether the contaminants are the cause.

State environmental officals are working with the EPA, and say 69 homes will be cleaned up.

Soil will be removed in the backyards, and replaced with clean soil and sod.

However, neighbors say for now, they still worry about the soil their kids are playing on.

"They said at a meeting for our little kids to play, put a blanket in the yard. I think that's a joke," says Melvin Barnett.  

State environmental officials say this is no laughing matter.

We asked if residents in the Park Hill neighborhood had any reason to worry.

"I don't want to say don't worry, but certainly this merits the attention of the agencies, both state and federal, and that's why we're there to remediate this," says Dick Brown.

They believe this project will cost anywhere from $1 million dollars or more.

They want to also make sure steps are taken to clean up the old factory site.

But people who live nearby want state leaders also to get rid of the former pesticide factory.

"I looked at it like, if you don't get to the root of it and that's the problem over there, then it's ongoing," says Melvin Barnett.

Crews will begin working on the project after letters go out and two public meetings are held, possibly this summer.  

The project will likely be the largest residential soil remediation project in the state.

A public meeting on this issue will be held on June 27th at St. Stephen Church in Louisville.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News.  All rights reserved.

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