EPA to update Hammond, Whiting residents on toxic cleanup

Residents of two northwestern Indiana cities are getting an update on efforts to clean up heavy metals near a former industrial smelter.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scheduled a Wednesday meeting in Whiting about the ongoing work near the Federated Metals site.

The agency will update residents on residential soil sampling and cleanup work in areas of Hammond and Whiting near Federated Metals’ abandoned smelter.

About 10,000 people live within a mile of that smelter, which released lead, arsenic and other heavy metals into the air between 1937 and 1983.

The EPA announced in April that it had authorized $1.7 million for removal of lead-contaminated soil around homes in Hammond and Whiting.

Lead can cause serious long-term health problems in infants and young children, including reduced intelligence, impaired hearing and irritability.

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