The U.S. EPA Region 7 and the U.S. Department of House and Urban Development (HUD) have presented ceremonial checks worth $34.3 million to the City of Omaha to combat lead paint contamination from the Omaha Lead Superfund Site.
EPA awarded $29.9 million celebrating the renewal of a seven-year agreement that enables the city to perform remedial activities within the Omaha Lead Superfund Site, including cleaning up contaminated yards. HUD presented $4.4 million the City of Omaha to address interior lead-based paint.
“The partnership between EPA and the City of Omaha has reduced lead in the environment by remediating lead-contaminated soil and removing exterior lead-based paint from properties within the Omaha Lead Superfund Site,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Renewing our cooperative agreement with the city helps continue to ensure that the children and citizens of Omaha are protected from the dangers associated with lead exposure.”
"Even though lead-based paint was in fact banned many years ago in residential housing, its harmful legacy remains," said HUD Region 7 Administrator Ulysses Clayborn. "With today's funding from HUD and through our continuing interagency coordination with EPA, the city of Omaha will be able to continue its ongoing work with medical and social service providers to substantively address lead and other health hazards."
Omaha was once home to a large lead smelter and lead battery recycling plant that are estimated to have released more than 400 million pounds of lead particles into the environment. Much of that ended up in residential areas within the 27 square miles of downtown Omaha where the lead processing facilities operated.
The Record of Decision for the Omaha Lead Superfund Site includes remediation of lead-impacted soil from historic smelting and lead processing activities at the site. The remedy also includes exterior lead‑based paint stabilization, which was included to protect the soil remedy at the site.
HUD presented the city with approximately $4.4 million in combined grants through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazard Reduction and Healthy Homes Program. These funds will enable the city to address interior lead-based paint hazards in 160 housing units, providing safer homes for low-income families with children.