Soil cleanup to begin Monday next to former pesticide factory - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Residential soil cleanup to begin Monday next to former pesticide factory

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---On Monday, soil cleanup will begin to homes next to a former Louisville pesticide factory. The cleanup will begin on Wilson Avenue, then later moving to nearby St. Louis Street. 

Dozens of yards were found to have elevated levels of contamination, and despite the upcoming cleanup, some neighbors are still concerned.

"My house should be Monday or Tuesday, and then they go down to 17th," says Audrey Harbin, who lives nearby.

The home where Audrey Harbin and her family lives is one of dozens of homes located next to the old Black Leaf Chemical Site.

Investigations found the former pesticide factory left behind dangerous chemicals, including arsenic and lead.

Many of the back yards of homes next to the plant showed elevated levels of contamination.

Residents say it's hard not to worry.

"That was my concern, like 'oh my God'. Is it going to get in our water," says Audrey Harbin.

Some neighbors, like Teresa Dickerson, worry flooding over the years has caused chemicals to also travel to front yards and nearby homes facing the plant.

"Because in August of 2009 when we had the flooding, this whole block was flooded. So therefore I feel that some of the chemicals from that plant was transferred, to not only that side of the street but probably as far down as Dixie Highway," says Teresa Dickerson.

She's hoping federal and state environmental officials will take a look at those homes too.

She and other neighbors have already gotten a medical screening.

"Just in case they start the digging and transferring all these contaminants, I will at least know if I had any of that in my system before they started," says Teresa Dickerson.

"Hair sample, I had got blood drawn, and a urine sample, and we're waiting on the results," says Audrey Harbin.

Meanwhile, soil cleanup will soon begin on as many as 44 homes where homeowners have given officials permission to clean up their soil.

But dozens of others still haven't given officials consent. 

This will be the state's largest residential soil cleanup ever.

It's expected to take 2 to 3 days per home to clean up the soil.

Cleanup is expected to run into early November.

Environmental officials have offered nearby advice during the excavation process. They encourage residents to stay away from the areas being excavated, keep doors and windows closed while digging is underway, rinse or wash shoes exposed to the soil, wash pets  exposed to the soil, and wash hands before eating.

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