EPA Soil Sampling and Excavations at Raintree Plantation, Southwest Jefferson County Mining Superfund Site, Jefferson County, Missouri
In November 2009, EPA staff met with the Raintree Properties Owners Association. During the meeting, association board members requested that EPA provide residents with more information about the sampling and lead cleanup work the Agency is conducting at Raintree Plantation residences. This fact sheet summarizes EPA's lead sampling and removal activities at Raintree and provides health guidelines to prevent exposure to lead contamination in soil prior to soil replacement.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has produced an inventory of sites where mining and smelting operations have occurred throughout Missouri in the past and present. Based on this inventory, EPA identified residential areas in Jefferson County where historical mining and smelting activities may have contributed to elevated levels of lead in soil and groundwater. Using this database, EPA started collecting soil and water samples from residences in Jefferson County in 2006.
The database did not identify any mining or smelting operations in or near Raintree Plantation. As a consequence, EPA did not include the Raintree residential area in its initial sampling plan.
However, after several Raintree residents requested that EPA screen their soil for lead contamination, EPA collected samples and identified some yards with high levels of lead contamination within Raintree Plantation. In discussions with these property owners, EPA determined that the source of lead contamination at these residences came from soil brought onto the properties for backfill or landscaping purposes.
EPA is conducting investigations and cleanup work at the Southwest Jefferson County Mining Site under the Superfund program. Congress established Superfund in 1980 in response to growing concerns over human health and environmental risks posed by hazardous waste sites. After a Superfund site is discovered, cleanup can fall under two programs: removal and remedial. Removal actions address immediate threats to human health and the environment posed by contamination. Remedial actions address sites that require extensive and potentially long-term cleanup. Under the Superfund program, a site may qualify for placement on the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is intended primarily to guide EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation and cleanup. On September 23, 2009, EPA placed the Southwest Jefferson County Mining Site on the NPL.
COMPLETED SITE ACTIVITIES
EPA has collected soil samples from 1,602 properties located within the site, of which 299 samples were collected from Raintree residences. To date, more than 300 properties have been identified with lead-contaminated soil above 1,200 parts per million (ppm) in Jefferson County, of which 48 are located within Raintree Plantation. At this soil lead level, EPA prioritizes properties for cleanup as time-critical removals. Thus far, EPA has completed 11 excavations at Raintree residences.
EPA has also identified 292 site properties with lead-contaminated soil in the range of 400 ppm to 1,199 ppm, of which 105 are located within Raintree Plantation. These properties will be addressed after the time-critical removals have been completed.
Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Children are more sensitive to lead than adults and can develop lifelong learning disabilities and behavior problems from lead exposure. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should also avoid exposure to lead because lead can pass from the mother to unborn children and to nursing children from breast milk. The only way to know if your child has elevated blood lead levels is to have his or her blood tested. EPA encourages parents to have their children tested for lead exposure.
Lead poisoning can cause these health effects in infants and young children:
- Slowed physical growth.
- Hearing problems.
- Nervous system damage.
- Learning problems.
- Behavior problems including hyperactivity.
- Decreased intelligence.
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS TO REDUCE LEAD EXPOSURE
If EPA has informed you that your soil has elevated lead levels, you can adopt the following actions until EPA is able to excavate the contaminated soil and replace it with clean soil. These actions will reduce your children's exposure to lead prior to EPA's cleanup completion.
- Do not let your children play in areas that have elevated lead levels in soil.
- Wash your children's hands after playing outside and before meals.
- Vacuum often and dust with a damp cloth to help remove dust that might have lead in it.
- Put washable doormats or rugs at all entries to your home and wash the mats every week.
- Wash children's toys frequently with soap and water, especially when the toys have been taken outside.
- Eat a diet high in calcium and iron and low in fat. Eating this type of diet may lower the amount of ingested lead that children absorb into their bodies. Iron-rich foods include red meats, fish and chicken, iron-enriched cereals and dried fruits. Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese and leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens.
If you eat vegetables grown in soil that contains lead, lead can get into your body. To lower the amount of lead that gets into your body from eating vegetables grown in your garden, avoid planting root crops in soil that contains more than 1,000 ppm of lead and do not plant crops in soil that contains more than 1,500 ppm of lead. Always wash and peel all vegetables, fruit and root crops before eating. Consider using raised beds with clean soil for your garden.
ADDITIONAL LEAD INFORMATION
For more information, go to:
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Toxicological Profile for Lead:
ToxFAQs for Lead:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil:
EPA has compiled the site administrative record. The administrative record contains investigative reports, descriptions of site activities and other documents used to determine the appropriate action to take at the site. You can review the administrative record during normal business hours at these locations:
De Soto Public Library
712 South Main Street
De Soto, Mo.
EPA Region 7
901 North 5th Street
Kansas City, Kan.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR PROPERTY TESTED OR HAVE QUESTIONS
Property owner permission forms to request soil sampling are available in the Raintree POA Office. The following EPA staff will be happy to answer your questions and/or add your property to our list for sampling:
Community Involvement Coordinator
EPA Region 7
901 North 5th Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101
913-551-7598, Toll-free 1-800-223-0425
EPA Site Office
13291 State Road CC
De Soto, Missouri 63020