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EPA Announces More Money to Clean Up Contaminated Soil in Joplin

Joplin Tornado Map
This map of the tornado affected parts of Joplin and Duquesne was used by the Army Corps of Engineers shortly after the tornado. (Photo credit: KSMU)

Seven months after the tornado, the EPA provided half a million dollars for Joplin to hire a remediation coordinator and pay for equipment, testing services, contaminated soil excavation and clean soil replacement. 

Now, the agency is providing an additional $2.4 million from its Superfund program to remove contaminated dirt and replace it with safe soil.

The money is expected to allow the city to replace soils and restore yards at 240 homes, parks, playgrounds and child-occupied properties over the next three years.

EPA Region Seven Administrator Karl Brooks says repeated lead exposure can have negative health impacts on children…

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Since Joplin’s soil remediation coordinator Leslie Heitkamp began working under EPA’s first funding in April 2012, 26 residential yards have been completed, 21 other properties are underway and another 28 are confirmed for and await remediation.

According to Heitkamp, the EPA funding is greatly needed.  She says, besides the peace of mind of knowing your kids aren’t being exposed to anything dangerous in the places where they play, there’s an added benefit…

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Last December, Joplin passed an ordinance requiring soil testing for everyone in the disaster zone.  If lead levels are high, a building permit won’t be issued.  Properties that are in the disaster zone and meet certain requirements are eligible for free soil testing through the Jasper County Health Department.  Based on test results, the property owners might be eligible for remediation help.  To learn more, 358-0475 or 877-879-9131 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.