EPA Region 7 Deputy Administrator Edward Chu presents Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert with a ceremonial check for nearly $30 million, joined by other officials. (Photo credit: U.S. EPA)
LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 3, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) presented ceremonial checks worth $34.3 million to the City of Omaha, Nebraska, to protect children from lead at homes in the city.
EPA awarded $29.9 million celebrating the renewal of a seven-year, $29.9 million cooperative agreement that enables the city to perform remedial activities within the Omaha Lead Superfund Site, including cleaning up contaminated yards. HUD presented $4.4 million the City of Omaha to address interior lead-based paint.
EPA Region 7 Deputy Administrator Edward Chu and Michelle Miller, deputy director of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, joined Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert to celebrate the agreements that highlight a whole-of-government approach to removing lead from the environment at homes where our children spend much of their time. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children.
“The partnership between EPA and the City of Omaha has reduced lead in the environment by remediating lead-contaminated soil and removing exterior lead-based paint from properties within the Omaha Lead Superfund Site,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Renewing our cooperative agreement with the city helps continue to ensure that the children and citizens of Omaha are protected from the dangers associated with lead exposure.”
"Even though lead-based paint was in fact banned many years ago in residential housing, its harmful legacy remains,” said HUD Region 7 Administrator Ulysses Clayborn. “With today's funding from HUD and through our continuing interagency coordination with EPA, the city of Omaha will be able to continue its ongoing work with medical and social service providers to substantively address lead and other health hazards.”
“Every child, every family, should live in a safe and healthy environment,” Mayor Stothert said. “We have made tremendous progress in Omaha; however, children are still at risk. The continuation of our cooperative agreement with the EPA makes safer and healthier homes for families and children possible.”
Omaha was once home to a large lead smelter and lead battery recycling plant that are estimated to have released more than 400 million pounds (200,000 tons) of lead particles into the environment. Much of that ended up in residential areas within the 27 square miles of downtown Omaha where the lead processing facilities operated.
The Record of Decision for the Omaha Lead Superfund Site includes remediation of lead-impacted soil from historic smelting and lead processing activities at the site. The remedy also includes exterior lead-based paint stabilization, which was included to protect the soil remedy at the site.
HUD presented the city with approximately $4.4 million in combined grants through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazard Reduction and Healthy Homes Program. These funds will enable the city to address interior lead-based paint hazards in 160 housing units, providing safer homes for low-income families with children.
Also in attendance were officials from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) and the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD). EPA and DCHD have a separate cooperative agreement in place to provide DCHD with funding for the county’s free blood lead screening services, indoor lead screening, and education and outreach to medical professionals within the site boundary.
Learn more about the Omaha Lead Superfund Site.
Learn more about the City of Omaha’s Lead Hazard Programs.
Learn more about Douglas County’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
Read more about HUD’s Healthy Homes Program.
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