Mt. Pleasant Community Exposed To High Lead Levels For Decades

Mt. Pleasant Community Exposed To High Lead Levels For Decades

CREATED Jun 25, 2014
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

MT. PLEASANT, Tenn. - High levels of lead have been found in one mid-state community. Neighbors recently learned that the problem has lingered for more than 40 years.

“They knocked on the door and said there was lead over here,” resident Petey Bullock said.

Bullock was one of more than one dozen residents put on alert.

“Well,” he said. “I was shocked when I first heard it.”

He and more than one dozen residents that learned potentially high levels of lead could have been lurking in their backyards for decades. It's because of Industrial Products Company (IPC).

Manufacturing shut down in the 1970s after not being able to comply with the stricter, then new guidelines imposed by the Clean Air Act. But it wasn't until 2011 that the state learned that lead slag used in its process of making rock wool escaped through air emissions.

“Some lead dust was spread over the city,” Chuck Berry with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explained. “It's mainly concentrated in the areas really close to the property within a couple of blocks.”

Wednesday, environmental crews tested the soil at a property along Boswell Street

“Here you're seeing a site that was identified earlier as being possibly contaminated,” Byron Taylor, President of Taylor Environmental Services explained while crews worked at a property on Boswell Street testing soil.

Taylor’s company was hired by IPC successors, who have stepped up to perform the removal and assume the cost themselves. Crews used an x-ray gun of sorts gives an initial reading. If the levels exceed a certain threshold, samples are taken to be tested further in a lab.

“I want them to get to it because…lead is kind of a bad thing,” Bullock said.

In fact lead levels above 400 parts per million can be dangerous, especially for children and pregnant women.

“It can delay developmental growth of neurological system and lead to developmental disabilities in children,” Berry explained.

The most vulnerable are those who were here during the plant's operation.

“The group that lives here today is likely not in any significant danger,” Taylor added.

But it's unknown how or if residents have been affected.

Once an area is deemed contaminated, the soil will be removed and sent to a waste management landfill in Lewisburg. Then fresh soil will be brought in.

Email: acline-thomas@newschannel5.com