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E.C. board to discuss relocating Carrie Gosch students

Special education instructor Michele Lloyd, top center, helps her students learn about telling time on their iPads in 2013. The School City of East Chicago board is scheduled to meet at 2:30 p.m. Monday to discuss relocating students from Carrie Gosch because of soil sampling results from the EPA showing dangerous levels of lead and arsenic in the area.

EAST CHICAGO — The School Board will meet at 2:30 p.m. today to discuss relocating students from Carrie Gosch Elementary School, the district superintendent said.

Superintendent Paige McNulty confirmed in an email the meeting would be held at the school, 45 E. 148th St.

Carrie Gosch Elementary and the West Calumet Housing Complex to the south are located on about 50 acres of a 400-acre U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site added to the National Priorities List in April 2009.

Data released last week by the city show lead in the soil at nearly every property in the West Calumet Housing Complex exceeds the EPA's 1,200 parts per million threshold for emergency cleanup. The EPA released a spreadsheet showing the data at its web page for the West Calumet complex.

Anaconda Lead Products and International Lead Refining Co. once operated where the school and the West Calumet Housing Complex now stand and are believed to have deposited lead and arsenic contamination directly into the soil from operations, according to EPA documents.

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It is unclear if any environmental remediation was done following the demolition of the Anaconda facility sometime after 1959 and the start of construction of the West Calumet Complex in the early 1960s.

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The Superfund site is named after the USS Lead facility, which operated south of 151st Street and west of Kennedy Avenue. USS Lead closed in 1985 and is believed to have released airborne contamination, which settled in the soil on properties to the north and northeast, records show.

The city last month notified about 1,000 residents — including 680 children — living at the public housing complex that it would be in their best interests to move because of the contamination.

The city also is working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to relocate the residents and possibly demolish the decades-old public housing complex.

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