Cleanup begins this week on forty-four homes near the former Black Leaf Chemical Plant in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood.
The Black Leaf plant was home to many companies during the 20th century, including several that produced pesticides. In 2011, high levels of heavy metals and pesticides were discovered in the site’s soil. Later, residential testing revealed the dangerous chemicals had migrated to nearby homes.
Now, more than a year after the first residential contamination was discovered, clean-up begins. Crews from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and State Division for Environmental Protection will use heavy machinery to remove the soil from the back yards of 44 homes that abut the plant. They’ll replace it with fresh soil, and lay sod. In total, there’s contamination at 77 homes, but regulators haven’t gotten permission from homeowners to remediate 33 of them.
But this remediation will just take care of the contamination in the soil…not the toxins, if any, in the bloodstream of local residents. University of Louisville researchers are seeking grant funding to conduct medical tests on the residents; so far, they’ve collected samples from 33 people, and there are another 30 who will be tested over the next two weeks.