Joplin tornado-damaged yards have high lead levels

Jul 22, 2013

Two years after a tornado tore through Joplin, excavation work continues on yards that revealed high levels of lead after being disrupted by the storm.

The Joplin Globe reports most of the lead found in the yards was discovered where a tree was uprooted. Other mine waste was exposed where foundations and driveways were before the tornado.

The city says of the 1,091 yards sampled for lead in Joplin's disaster zone after the May 22, 2011, tornado, 426 needed the excavation of lead-contaminated soil. As of last week, 182 of those properties had been excavated.

Health Department Director Dan Pekarek says grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency is being used for the remediation. So far, about $3.5 million has been awarded.