East Chicago Estimates $56 Million Needed For Lead Cleanup

Mar 10, 2017

Gov. Eric Holcomb is extending his emergency declaration in East Chicago, Indiana another 30 days. The original order expired Saturday.

The extension comes on the heels of a report from the city to the governor’s office outlining additional resource needs to address the lead contamination crisis.

East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland identified 15 projects totaling over 56 million dollars.

The top project on the list? Replacing lead drinking water service lines and other underground water utilities. The cost for doing so within the USS Lead Superfund site is over $40 million. And the city estimates an additional $30 million would be needed to replace the remaining service lines city-wide.

While the city currently feeds phosphate into the drinking water supply to prevent lead from leaching out of pipes, the report says, quote, “ultimately the only way to eliminate lead is to remove the lead service lines.”

Some of the other projects identified by the city include lead paint abatement, distributing home water filters, and replacing water fixtures in schools and public buildings.

In an emailed statement, Gov, Holcomb’s office said they received the report and they are working on it.