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EPA in Kansas

Caney Residential Yards Site

Site Summary

The Caney Residential Yards Superfund Site is located in Caney, Kansas, and a surrounding part of southwestern Montgomery County, Kansas. Lead contamination of residential yards at the site is a result of local smelting operations that date back to about a century ago.

In the early 1900s, the discovery of natural gas in the area helped spur the development of zinc and lead smelting operations in Caney and elsewhere in southeast Kansas, as the gas was used to fuel smelter furnaces. Over time, lead particles from those smelters and related operations became airborne and settled onto area properties. Also, it is likely that yards became contaminated as residents transported waste from the smelters, in the form of cinders and other material, to homes and other locations for use as driveway paving, construction backfill and landscaping material.

In recent years, sampling by EPA and Kansas Department of Health and Environment has identified a number of residential properties where soils contain more than 400 parts per million (ppm) of lead, which is considered EPA’s action level for removal. Those previously sampled properties with greater than 400 ppm of lead, and other properties that may be identified through future sampling, will be included in EPA’s removal action for this site. EPA will continue its sampling efforts to ensure that all potentially impacted properties in the area will be assessed.

The proposed action at this site involves excavation and removal of lead-contaminated soil, backfilling the excavated area to original grade with clean topsoil, and restoring a grass lawn at the properties. The removal action will consist of removal and proper disposal of soil and/or waste containing lead concentrations greater than 400 ppm from residential properties, and high child impact areas, such as schools and daycare facilities where a composite sample exceeds a concentration of 400 ppm.

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