The Bloomingtonian

Workers in protective suits clean up lead “fallout” Tuesday after a controlled burn

Workers dressed in protective suits canvassed housing tracts near the site of a controlled burn at 1213 S. High Street to collect lead-contaminated paint chips that fell across the area last Friday.

The city released a map Wednesday:

Bloomington City Council member said only a few properties were remediated Wednesday, and the process could take two weeks.

Matt Murphy referred to the chips as fallout and gave some numbers on the contamination after tests were done during the past few days. According to the EPA the definition of what is considered lead paint must contain 5,000 parts per million lead:

https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2015-10/documents/epa_lead_standards_petition_final.pdf

Some chips tested near the burn site were measured as follows according to data shared with The Bloomingtonian Wednesday:

2015 E. Marilyn chips 11,900 ppm

1900 E. Ruby chips 79,600 ppm

926. S. Highland chips 84ppm

1104 S. Covenanter chips 68,700 ppm

1000 S. Jordan chips 21,400 ppm

1213 S. High wood trim from burned house site 7,617 ppm

1213 S. High wood trim from house site 7,865 ppm

1213 S. High wood trim from house column 15,000 ppm

Testing of samples from the area continues.

The City of Bloomington issued the following press release Wednesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 10, 2021

For more information, please contact:  Jason Moore, Bloomington Fire Chief, [email protected], or 812-332-9763.

Bloomington Fire Department and City Continue to Address Impacts of Controlled Burn 

Bloomington, Ind. – The City of Bloomington and the Bloomington Fire Department (BFD) continue to investigate and address environmental impacts of the controlled burn of a structure at 1213 South High Street on Friday, November 5. The BFD has developed a map of affected properties based on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM)’s evaluation integrated with results of lead testing completed by the City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Department (HAND).    

Since the controlled burn, BFD crews led by Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore have been surveying the vicinity, collecting debris, and going door to door to survey residents, answer questions, and document any dissemination of debris daily. The City has contracted with two independent companies to help in remediation. Indianapolis-based Environmental Assurance Company, Inc. (EACI) began cleanup and remediation on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 9, addressing any areas adversely affected by the controlled burn. Bloomington-based VET Environmental Engineering, LLC is independently assessing the debris dispersal and any potential environmental impacts. Together, EACI and VET are evaluating and performing remediation work at private properties when appropriate, with permission from property owners.

EACI and VET are evaluating approximately 102 properties that were downwind of the fire on Friday, November 5, including seven properties in the immediate remediation area. Together, the companies have approximately 18 staff members on the job. Crews have prioritized cleanup of paint flakes.  Results of dust testing are pending.    

(The City contracted with EACI after an original agreement made on Saturday, November 6 with a different service provider encountered delays.)    

Residents in the vicinity may request that their property be evaluated (at no cost) by completing this form on the City’s website.  Residents of properties identified within the remediation areas will be contacted by remediation crews even if they do not fill out the form. 

The City has been in regular contact with the Monroe County Department of Health, IDEM, and other professional environmental specialists to evaluate the situation and develop and implement health and safety recommendations. These experts will guide the response and directly disseminate information about the situation, with support from the City. IDEM’s initial test results did indicate the presence of lead in paint flakes collected from several properties.  Lead has not been detected in any surface wipe samples collected in the vicinity by HAND.  

Residents may dispose of bagged debris and used cleaning materials in specially marked receptacles that were placed in the area Sunday, November 7. Local health officials recommend keeping children and pets away from paint debris. If there is a high concentration of paint chips and ash on a property, experts advise not to rake leaves or mow until remediation has been completed.

Prior to conducting the training exercise, the controlled burn had been reviewed and approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), which required that materials including furniture, carpeting, asphalt roofing shingles, roofing underlayment, and vinyl siding be removed from the structure prior to the exercise.  

For more information, please see bloomington.in.gov/bfdburninfo or contact Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore at 812-332-9763.

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