“EPA is pleased to provide this financial support so that the rebuilding of Joplin can proceed without delay,” EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks said. “EPA responded immediately to Joplin at its time of greatest need in May, and through this cooperative agreement, the Agency extends its support by providing necessary funding to speed the redevelopment of Joplin’s neighborhoods.”
Joplin city officials made a formal request for EPA’s assistance last month, noting that as many as 1,500 lead-contaminated residential properties may exist in the tornado-impacted areas of the city. Preliminary testing of a limited group of 43 properties by the Jasper County Health Department found elevated average levels of lead in yard soils at 19 of the properties.
A Jasper County health ordinance, passed in 2006 as part of EPA’s Superfund work to address lead contamination in the area, requires properties to undergo lead sampling prior to redevelopment in the historic mining and smelter impacted portions of the county.
EPA’s cooperative agreement with Joplin provides $500,000 in funding from the Superfund program to hire a full-time city inspector/remediation coordinator and a part-time environmental specialist to guide and assist the implementation of a soil testing and yard remediation plan, and to conduct competitive bidding for one or more contractors to perform yard remediation work. The agreement will also pay for a vehicle, equipment, supplies, and travel expenses.