Next Steps in Louisville Superfund Cleanup

Crews continue excavation work in the Park Hill neighborhood of Louisville, Ky. Photo by Cody Munday
Crews continue excavation work in the Park Hill neighborhood of Louisville, Ky. Photo by Cody Munday

In what is known as the largest residential superfund cleanup in Kentucky’s history, state and federal agencies are nearly finished with replacing soil and sod in 68 residential yards in Louisville, Ky. These properties border a superfund site, the former Black Leaf Chemical property.

Since the residential cleanup activities began, access agreements have been received for 68 of 76 properties. At this time, 66 out of the 68 properties have been excavated and backfilled with clean soil with 10 of these still needing sod. Two properties on St. Louis Avenue remain to be addressed.

“With the wintry weather moving in over the last week or so, it has slowed work down to some extent. If the weather cooperates we hope to be able to finish the major off-site cleanup work by later this month or early February, except for minor items including some re-seeding, re-sodding or landscaping of some areas,” said Tim Hubbard, assistant director of the Kentucky Division of Waste Management.

Approximately $1.3 million has been spent by the state on the residential part of the cleanup so far. This does not include EPA’s costs for addressing 10 of the 68 properties.

Hubbard said that overall, this part of the cleanup has gone very well, especially given the number of properties that have been addressed and some of the logistical difficulties encountered in cleaning up residential yards. The agency also reports receiving very positive responses from affected residents that have had their yards cleaned up as the process has moved forward.

As for what’s next, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP) has received a proposed site characterization plan from the responsible parties for the former Black Leaf Chemical property. The plan includes the proposed sampling procedures and methods to determine how deep and wide the contamination may have spread at the site. KDEP is finishing the technical review of the plan and will work with the responsible parties and their consultants to get it finalized and approved over the next several weeks.

It is anticipated that field work and sampling will begin in spring, 2014. Once the contamination is fully characterized, a cleanup plan will be developed.

Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to contact Kentucky Division of Waste Management staff Tim Hubbard or Sheri Adkins at 502‐564‐6716. For properties being cleaned up by EPA, contact Art Smith, EPA on-scene coordinator, at 502‐582‐5161.

The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are committed to protecting the residents and others in the Park Hill community and keeping them informed as work progresses. Current project information will continue to be shared with residents, community groups, and media.

Read all KDEP posts related to this cleanup here.