Lead levels in soil not actionable in area of flake fall after fire, Bloomington’s contractor says

According to the city of Bloomington, soil samples taken from properties where debris fell after the Nov. 5 controlled burning of a house at 1213 High Street do not show lead levels that are “actionable.”

1213 High Street controlled burn on Nov. 5, 2021.

The debris included flakes of lead-based paint that coated the siding of the house.

The announcement, about the result of lead tests on soil samples taken by VET Environmental Engineering, came in a news release issued by the city of Bloomington late Tuesday afternoon.

The conclusions in Tuesday’s news release are based on results of testing done so far.

The new release says that lead levels in soil samples taken in the area where debris fell do not exceed Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) limits “for residential or direct contact exposure, and are in keeping with IDEM’s survey of background lead concentrations in Indiana.”

According to Tuesday’s news release, none of the samples showed lead levels greater than 200 parts per million (ppm). According to Bloomington’s news release, IDEM requires action to be taken if lead levels exceed 400 ppm. Continue reading “Lead levels in soil not actionable in area of flake fall after fire, Bloomington’s contractor says”

Tests show lead in falling ash flakes after Bloomington’s controlled house burn: Keep kids, pets away from ash

In connection with Friday morning’s controlled burn of a house on High Street by Bloomington’s Fire Department, ash flakes and dust fell on the neighborhood to the west.

Resident Matt Murphy, who lives about 300 yards from the burn site, immediately tested some flakes from his strawberry patch, among other places, for lead content. He used a kit manufactured by 3M, which is available in retail outlets.

The checks done by Murphy turned the test swabs red, which indicates the presence of lead. The B Square was able to replicate the same result with a different flake and test kit.

On Friday evening, Bloomington fire chief Jason Moore issued a news release that states: “Local health officials recommend keeping kids and pets away from the ash until testing indicates if it is hazardous.”

Testing will be done by Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Moore’s release says IDEM was notified as soon as a complaint was received about potential lead contamination from the ash generated by the fire.

On a visit to Murphy’s street on Friday afternoon, The B Square bumped into Scott Frosch, an environmental scientist with IDEM’s emergency response team. Frosch was collecting samples and placing them in plastic bags.

Fire chief Moore’s statement issued late Friday continues: “If individuals want to pick up any of the ash, they are advised to wear gloves, place the ash in a sealable plastic bag, and to wash their hands afterwards.”

On the topic of the ash, the news release concludes, “Once testing results are available, further communication will be released concerning disposal.” Continue reading “Tests show lead in falling ash flakes after Bloomington’s controlled house burn: Keep kids, pets away from ash”