Calumet Lead Crisis Update – 23 Aug

Downstate Indiana media has now finally taken notice of the Calumet (East Chicago) Lead Crisis, releasing a story last evening after some gentle push from Hoosiers (scroll thru @dunelandsej to see.) Many are wondering when state legislature will.

Two reports from the NWI Times today. The first an excellent and detailed report from Carmen McCollum explaning how a lead crisis in one East Chicago neighborhood has impacting the entire city via the school system. Key takeaway facts: The school district stands to lose $4 million due to decreased enrollment. Fifteen percent of East Chicago students live in the West Calumet Complex. Only 280 of a possible 430 Carrie Gosch Elementary students have been accounted for at their new locations. And EC school officials have reached out to the school superintendent in the only other community that is dealing with a major lead crisis: Flint, Michigan.

NWI Times’ Lauren Cross reports that Calumet residents beyond the West Calumet Complex, which is home to only a third of the community, will begin to learn about lead levels in their soils. The EPA is still testing for arsenic in zone 3 (East Calumet aka ‘Hunkytown’) and will begin testing in zone 2 (West Calumet) residents’ permission. Clean up of zone 2 was excluded from the 2012 consent decree. Conversations about the future of zone 1 (West Calumet Complex) between the EPA and the city are only now starting.

Residents of the larger Calumet neighborhood are organizing as Environmental Justice NWI and released a press statement this afternoon decrying the inactions of authorities and presenting a historical timeline of industry and its aftermaths.

The other local paper, the Post-Tribune, filed a story about a new lawsuit brought by a West Calumet Complex resident against the City of East Chicago, BP, DuPont, Atlantic Richfield, IDEM, and the EPA. This joins a tort claim filed earlier by 12 residents.

The Washington Post took notice of the Calumet Lead Crisis this morning, drawing from the AP report and previously published quotes.

The Young Turks returned with two videos today. The first a congratulatory piece — and cheers to independent media and local citizens BTW.

The next piece is the fourth installment, highlighting the day-to-day difficulties for West Calumet Complex residents. Will the dangerous lead follow them, attached to furniture and clothing? Is the water safe? Where will we go? TYT creates a good dose of tension as they try to get answers from the housing authority, who are none-too-happy to see them.

Finally, East Chicago residents have organized to help West Calumet Complex residents move this Saturday. Can you help? Meet at 3816 Main Street in the Harbor at 2pm. Coordinators are asking volunteers to keep limbs covered when outdoors, wear long pants, socks, and closed shoes. As precaution they will limit volunteers outside exposure to 2-3 hours. No eating, drinking, or smoking when outside.


3 thoughts on “Calumet Lead Crisis Update – 23 Aug

  1. What will be the logistics of helping people move? What should we bring with us? Or will we just be helping people load their belongings? Let me know what we can do


  2. Citizens of East Chicago, Indiana don’t despair… There is an organization working with people living in toxic waste contaminated communities since 1981 and is willing to help educate you on how to seek justice…

    Organize yourselves, Educate yourselves, and Demand justice!

    See: [ ] ‘Love Canal 30 Years Later’ by CHEJtv, June 16, 2010.

    See: [ ] ‘Center for Health, Environment & Justice’ Non-profit organization at 105 Rowell Ct, Falls Church, Virginia, 22046, Phone: (703) 237-2249.

    See also: [ ] ‘Love Canal: Case study in soil contamination’ by NV atCEPImperial

    See also: [ ] ‘Lois Gibbs – The Love Canal Story’ by afiercegreenfire


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