Soil samples don’t show concerning lead levels after controlled burn in Bloomington

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BLOOMINGTON — The City of Bloomington says soil samples taken near a November 5 controlled burn do not contain lead levels exceeding Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) limits for exposure.

Samples were collected and tested at an independent lab. None of the samples were above 200 parts per million. IDEM only requires action if levels exceed 400 parts per million.

This means, homeowners in the area can rake their leaves without any concerns. “We have consulted with public health officials and based on the current data and work completed, the homeowners should be able to proceed with fall lawn care as they normally would,” said Monroe County Health Administrator Penny Caudill. “Wearing gloves, washing up when the work is done and perhaps wearing a mask should allow the work to be done with little, if any risk.”

The City of Bloomington did take blood samples from the firefighters at the controlled burn. Those results have not come back yet.

Earlier this month, air testing results indicated there were no detectable lead dust contamination.

The testing was authorized after a controlled burn in the 1200 block of S. High Street ended up triggering an alert about possible lead-contaminated ash and debris being spread by the fire.

The Bloomington Fire Department said the possible contamination came to their attention when a concerned citizen approached firefighters after the live burn training exercise had concluded and told firefighters a tested piece of debris identified the presence of lead.

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