CHICAGO (CBS) — The mayor of East Chicago, Indiana, appeared to be losing patience with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over the ongoing issue of lead contamination at a public housing complex.
Mayor Anthony Copeland accused the EPA of rushing him into making rapid decisions about the future use of the land at the West Calumet Housing Complex, after the area was deemed unsafe because of high lead levels in the ground.
The EPA has asked for details so it can properly plan for remediation.
The housing complex was built decades ago on land that once was a U.S. Smelter and Lead refinery, and now is an EPA superfund site due to high concentrations of lead and arsenic in the soil.
During his state of the city address this week, Copeland said he won’t settle for anything less than full restoration of the land for residential use. He said the EPA has not been forthcoming about dealings with the polluters, who have provided some cleanup funding.
Copeland said the city has yet to get answers about who is going to pay for demolition of the buildings on the site.
Last summer, the mayor accused the EPA of sitting on soil test results for more than a year before telling residents about the dangerous lead levels.
For its part, the EPA has said it’s working closely with the city to deal with the contamination.