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Superfund Program Implements the Recovery Act

Omaha Lead Superfund Site

Omaha, Nebraska

Site Description
The site consists of approximately 15,000 residential properties, including some areas with environmental justice concerns, within a 27 square-mile boundary in the eastern portion of the Omaha metropolitan area.  (The site does not include either the Omaha Central Business District or other nonresidential properties in the boundary area.)  Emissions from a former lead refinery, operated by Asarco from the 1870s until 1997, are the site’s contamination source.  Lead contamination in surface yard soils continues to be an exposure route at the site. 

Cleanup Activities to Date
EPA added the site to the National Priorities List in 2003; however, EPA started excavation and replacement of contaminated surface soils in 1999 under a removal action.  The site’s long-term cleanup began in 2004.  To date, EPA has completed soil cleanup at  4,615 properties and exterior lead-based paint stabilization at 1,187 properties. 

Recovery Act Project Activity
EPA will use the approximately $25 million in Recovery Act funds to significantly increase the pace of ongoing long-term soil cleanup and lead-based paint stabilization activities. Small businesses with incentives to hire and purchase materials locally will conduct the work. While EPA will need to continue work at this site in future years, the funding will help expedite implementation of the final cleanup approach for the site, estimated to be completed in five to ten years.

FY2011 highlights include:

  • Soil excavation was completed at 287 residential properties contaminated with lead. 92 vacant lots were remediated from January through March 2011. The work has contributed to continuous reductions in elevated blood-lead levels in children, removed the stigma of lead contamination from these homes, and increased community awareness of the health hazards from exposure to lead. Work is ongoing and expected to be completed in early 2012.

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