The Environmental Protection Agency and public health officials held open meetings Tuesday to talk with residents in the south Pueblo neighborhoods listed as a Superfund site in December. KRCC’s Shanna Lewis reports.
The EPA eventually wants to test soil samples around some 1900 homes. Previous testing found toxic lead and arsenic levels around the site of the former Colorado Smelter, which closed in 1908.
Although a few hundred people have already consented to the testing, there are many, like Pueblo native Rick Romero who haven’t agreed. He thinks the Superfund listing happened too fast.
“You feel like you’re living in a place like you shouldn’t be here, or people are looking at you like we don’t want to be in that area, we don’t want to be here," says Romero. "And I’m telling them hey I’ve been here all this time and I don’t have no problems.”
Romero has other concerns, like the effect on real estate values. The EPA testing and analysis phase is expected to take several years. Also, the Pueblo City-County Health Department will be testing for lead inside homes in the area.