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Public Meetings Are Coming Up This Week to Discuss Lees Land Landfill


A pair of community meetings with environment officials are coming up this week to discuss cleanup efforts at the old Lees Lane Landfill in southwest Louisville.The long-contaminated sitewas closed down in 1975 and was declared a toxic Superfund site after 400 drums of hazardous materials were found near the Ohio River. Clean-up efforts have been ongoing, but residents have expressed concerned about contamination and health risks. Donna Seadler, a remedial project manager for the Environmental Protection Agency, said the meetings are aimed at hearing those concerns and gathering more information.  She said she is not sure how effective the ongoing clean-up efforts are, but the agency will  assess the progress through extended research and site-sampling.“We need additional data in order to determine whether the remedy is protective at the site,” she said. “One of the things we also know is that the gas collection system does not function properly at the site. We will be doing some additional sampling at homes at the area to ensure that there is not unacceptable levels volatile organics coming from the homes.”Before the 1940s, the 112 acre site was a sand and gravel quarry.  But, from the 1940s until the site closed in 1975, the landfill took in household trash and industrial waste.  Nearby residents began reporting flash fires near home water heater units in 1975. By 1983 it was slated for cleanup on the toxic Superfund list, where it remained for 13 years.Seadler said the EPA is required to assess the protectiveness of the cleanup remedies of the site every five years.“And this time I was not able to give a firm conclusion that it was protective,” she said.  “We are going to gather additional data and we will be able to say it was protective or say this is what needs to happen in order to make it protective.”The meetings will be 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday from  at the Western High Schoolcafeteria.

Jacob Ryan is an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.