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Joplin gets EPA help for lead testing, remediation

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)
Joplin residents look through the remains of their house on May 24,two days after an EF-5 tornado devastated the city. The EPA will provide $500,000 to test and clean up lead-contaminated soil in residential areas exposed by the tornado and recovery.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency will provide the city of Joplin, Mo. with $500,000 to help test and clean up lead-contaminated soils that were exposed by the May 22 tornado that devastated the city.

The money from the Superfund program will allow the city to hire one full-time and one part-time person to coordinate a soil testing and remediation plan. The funds will also pay for a vehicle, equipment, supplies and travel expenses.

Joplin officials requested the EPA's assistance last month, saying that as many as 1,500 of residential properties affected by the tornado may be contaminated with lead. Preliminary testing on 43 yards by the Jasper County Health Department found elevated lead levels in 19 of them.

“EPA is pleased to provide this financial support so that the rebuilding of Joplin can proceed without delay,” EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks said. “EPA responded immediately to Joplin at its time of greatest need in May, and through this cooperative agreement, the Agency extends its support by providing necessary funding to speed the redevelopment of Joplin’s neighborhoods.”  

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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