Tuesday, February 11, 2003

More testing expected for lead

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LIBERTY TWP. - A second round of testing in a subdivision with high lead concentrations likely will lead to a third round to determine how deep the lead is in the soil and to identify cleanup boundaries.

"This is a crying shame, but I am not alarmed any more or any less than I was last week," said Ed Lumbert, 34. "We still can't take our kids out in the backyard to play in the snow."

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether lead in the soil at the Lexington Manor subdivision poses a threat to the public health after previous tests detected high levels and neighbors complained.

Anne Madison, a spokeswoman for Ryland Homes, builder of Lexington Manor, said Monday that company officials had the results back from only seven of the yards and wouldn't release those and the remaining ones until all the homeowners and the OEPA receive them.

So far, however, two samples out of 17 additional ones taken two weeks ago from the yard of Ed and Robin Lumbert on Palomino Lane came back at 500 and 490 parts per million (ppm), according to a Feb. 7 letter to the Lumberts from SRW Environmental Services Inc., of Milford.

That is higher than the most stringent state and federal levels for bare-soil play areas, 400 ppm.

Meanwhile, OEPA officials have turned their focus to the subdivision's developer, Lexington Manor Inc.

On Jan. 30, OEPA officials sent a letter to Lexington Manor Inc. in care of HT Investments Inc. of Fairfield, requesting any and all information related to the site's history, including the lead remediation, within 15 days.

Joseph Reidy, the Columbus-based attorney for Lexington Manor Inc., and Harry Thomas Jr., owner of HT Investments, said they plan to give OEPA documentation that the lead was buried 15 to 20 feet below the surface - beyond the OEPA requirements of 10 feet deep for residential land - before it was treated with lime to render it non-hazardous in 2000.

When asked then why high levels of lead were turning up in the property anyway, Mr. Reidy could not explain.

"We are trying to figure that out as well," he said.

E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com.

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