Scott Air Force Base News

Scott begins soil remediation process to remove lead by 2019

Residents in historic Georgian and Colonial Housing are encouraged to attend a town hall meeting on Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Bldg. 56 to learn about the upcoming soil testing and remediation project to remove lead from soil around affected homes.
Residents in historic Georgian and Colonial Housing are encouraged to attend a town hall meeting on Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Bldg. 56 to learn about the upcoming soil testing and remediation project to remove lead from soil around affected homes.

Scott Air Force Base is beginning a remediation process in September that will eventually remove soil identified with elevated levels of lead in the historic Georgian and Colonial housing districts.

Notices were sent to residents who live in these housing areas, and a town hall will be conducted Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. and at 5 p.m. at the 375th Civil Engineer Readiness Building, Bldg. 56, to help residents understand the scope of the remediation project.

While lead found in the soil in these areas does not present an immediate or high risk for people or animals, removing and replacing the soil will ultimately make living conditions safer for everyone.

Ray Deck, the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Installation Management Flight Chief

A separate public meeting will also be held on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Public Safety Building in O’Fallon, Ill.

“The historic Georgian and Colonial homes were built in the late 1930s and early 1940s when the dangers of lead-based paint were unknown,” said Ray Deck, the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Installation Management Flight Chief.

“While lead found in the soil in these areas does not present an immediate or high risk for people or animals, removing and replacing the soil will ultimately make living conditions safer for everyone.”

Lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal that is used in a variety of products like batteries, ammunition, and dyes, and was also commonly used as an additive to paint. The use of lead-based paint was banned in 1978 decades after the historic homes in the Georgian and Colonial districts were built.

Lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal that is used in a variety of products like batteries, ammunition, and dyes, and was also commonly used as an additive to paint. The use of lead-based paint was banned in 1978 decades after the historic homes in the Georgian and Colonial districts were built.

Exterior lead-based paint can flake and peel allowing lead to reach the soil in yards and playgrounds. Once lead falls onto soil, it sticks strongly to soil particles and remains in the upper layer of soil. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency found any level of lead in the soil above 400 parts per million is hazardous to human health and the environment.

The base recently conducted some routine soil sampling that identified 30 homes in Colonial and 14 homes in the Georgian housing districts with unacceptable levels of lead in the soil underneath the windows and driplines near bushes and hedges, extending up to 10 feet into the yards.

In compliance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, more detailed investigations of the soil in the Georgian and Colonial housing districts are being done now to determine the precise boundaries where elevated levels of lead must be removed.

The soil testing is projected to be complete by this winter, and in 2018, a remediation plan identifying the areas requiring excavation will be developed. There will be no field work in the historic housing districts during this phase. Once the remediation plan is approved, the excavation phase will begin, currently scheduled to start in the spring of 2019. Any landscaping removed during excavation will be replaced.

All three phases of this project—soil testing, remediation plan development and approval, and excavation and restoration—are scheduled to be complete by the end of 2019.

We take the health and safety of our military members and their families seriously, and we’re moving forward on this project so we can address and remove any lead contamination in strict accordance with the established protocols and standards.

Col. John Howard, 375th Air Mobility Wing and Installation commander

Col. John Howard, 375th Air Mobility Wing and Installation commander, said, “We take the health and safety of our military members and their families seriously, and we’re moving forward on this project so we can address and remove any lead contamination in strict accordance with the established protocols and standards. During this time of testing and through the excavation process, we will work with residents to ensure they are informed and that we address any concerns they may have.”

For information and educational resources about lead, go to www.epa.gov/lead.

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