On 7/28 EPA OSC T. Richardson was contacted by Deb Hoag, an engineer for the City of Reading, regarding a report she’d received which indicated that lead had been detected at 1014ppm in an area that had been proposed for a community garden (basically a back yard of what appeared to be two row homes that were converted into a senior center). The actual sample was collected and analyzed by the Penn State Agriculture Extension.
Mrs. Hoag asked if the OSC was available to take a look at the area at some point, and provided a briefing of some historical information along with a map showing the location of the senior center and its proximity to former smelter/foundry operations. The senior center, and former industrial buildings are located in a well populated residential area, including several other community gardens, and a public park/playground. On 7/28, after briefing EPA management, OSC Richardson met with Mrs. Hoag and conducted a walking tour of the area. During the tour the OSC collected several XRF readings from public areas including an alley behind the senior center, and at the Reading Iron Park (including community gardens). We were unable to access the exact area the sample was collected by Penn State, as the senior center was closed, and the yard was fenced. But XRF readings were taken from the alley way just outside the yard. The highest Pb concentration at that location was ~1050ppm. Readings at the Reading Iron Park/gardens were in the low 100’s (150 – 300ppm). Based on available information, EPA has determined that further assessment of the area is warranted, and will conduct additional XRF screenings, and sample the surface soil in the area.