ATLANTA (CBS46) - A health alert for resident living on Atlanta's Westside. Right now a major cleanup is underway in the English Avenue neighborhood.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun an investigation into lead soil contamination in Atlanta’s Westside. The EPA said the biggest challenge for them is gaining access to perform sampling at properties.

There are 368 properties between Joseph E. Boone Blvd. N.W., Chestnut Street N.W., Cameron Alexander Blvd. N.W., and the old CSX rail line.  The EPA sampled 124 properties thus far, of those 66 tested positive for harmful levels of lead, though the contaminated soil could go beyond the English Avenue neighborhood.

“We have not determined the full extent of the lead contamination, we are working to do that, but gaining access to properties is our number one limitation," said Chuck Berry with the EPA.

The agency is offering free soil testing to residents or property owners within the study area. In 2018, an Emory University doctoral student shared data with the EPA showing elevated lead levels collected from soil samples in Atlanta’s Westside.

It is well-known that long-term exposure to high levels of lead can be dangerous, especially for children. 

This cleanup project will take at least a year, costing nearly $2 million. Crews will dig up and replace the soil with clean soil, taking roughly a week to complete each property.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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