An investigation by Emory University into the soil quality of urban gardens led to the discovery of lead-containing slag on a residential lot in the English Avenue neighborhood of Atlanta. Additional investigation by the University led to the discovery of several other high-lead areas in the neighborhood. EPA investigated and observed the slag and verified the high lead levels. EPA initiated a Removal Site Evaluation to determine the scope of the contamination and if a removal action is necessary.
Initially, a 60-parcel area was selected for the investigation, but this was eventually expanded to 368 residential parcels in a 83-acre area. EPA collected samples from 124 of those properties, of which, 66 showed lead levels greater than the site-specific action level of 400 parts per million. On November 4, 2019, an Action Memorandum was signed, authorizing cleanup of properties affected by the slag. In January 2020, the site was expanded to 1068 properties over a 288-acre section of the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods. Sampling is proceeding concurrent with removal activities.