Lead-contaminated soil will be dug up and removed from residential property near an old foundry in Depew next spring.
NL (National Lead) Industries, which owned a brass foundry at 3241 Walden Ave. for 80 years, has signed a consent order with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to remove the soil at the 25 properties.
"NL Industries has come to the table," said Michael Basile, EPA community involvement coordinator.
Residents will find out what that means at a public session being conducted from 3 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 17 in Depew Village Hall, 85 Manitou St. Representatives from the EPA and NL Industries will be available to sit down with residents and go over the plans for their properties.
"We're going to sit down with affected residents one on one," Basile said.
Property owners will be asked to sign access agreements, allowing the work to be done.
The remediation may involve removing trees and bushes.
"Anything that is removed will definitely be replaced," Basile said, adding that new soil will be placed on lawns.
"EPA will work with NL Industries to ensure that contaminated soil is removed in a safe and efficient manner," EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny said in a news release.
Basile said testing revealed high levels of lead in the soil at three properties on West Second Street, seven on Walden Avenue and 15 on Bostwick Place. Soil will be removed to a depth of 6 to 10 inches, depending on the amount of contamination. Basile said residents would not have to leave their homes when the soil is being removed.
The EPA has asked NL Industries to conduct soil tests at 10 additional sites in the immediate vicinity. The agency also will offer residents the option of having the interior of their homes tested for lead to determine if an indoor cleanup is necessary.
NL Industries owned and operated the foundry from 1892 to 1972. The foundry was sold to Anglo-Recycling Corp. in 1974 and now is owned by Norampac Industries, which operates a paper fiber recovery facility.
EPA representatives have gone door-to-door in the past two weeks to discuss the plans with affected residents and their neighbors.
"We've had nothing but good cooperation from residents," Basile said.
The EPA was brought into the process more than a year ago by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which is addressing the contamination at the foundry.
The state Health Department and the federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry evaluated the public health implications and have recommended that measures be taken to reduce human exposure to the contaminated soil.
Depew Village Administrator Robert M. Kucewicz said residents have been aware of the situation and the cleanup for several years.
"Now everybody is just waiting for it to happen," he said.