EPA Briefs Park Hill Residents on Black Leaf Chemical Contamination

by Erica Peterson on November 10, 2011

The Environmental Protection Agency has begun cleaning up the former Black Leaf Chemical site in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood. The agency was in town tonight to update the community on its progress.

Black Leaf Chemical was a pesticide-manufacturing company that operated on a 29-acre site in Park Hill from 1930 to 1970. Up until at least the 1950s, it made pesticides like DDT and Dieldrin.

Soil contamination was discovered last year, and this summer commonwealth asked the EPA to assist with the clean up.

Art Smith is an EPA On-Scene Coordinator based in Louisville. He says the state asked the EPA to step in to help with clean up because of the nature of the site.

“They were concerned because of the proximity of residents to the site, they wanted to ensure that if there was contamination that has moved off the site that we would be able to identify it,” he said.

Smith says the agency is seeking permission to test soil in yards near the Black Leaf site, to see if the contamination spread.

“If there is residential soil contamination we’d like to identify that first, talk with those homeowners about that situation,” he said. “But whatever the case may be, this will be coming at no cost to the residents.”

The EPA is investigation whether companies that owned the property after Black Leaf Chemical could be responsible for the clean up. If they aren’t, the government will pay to remove the hazard.

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