EPA Investigating Potential Hazmat Site Near Housing Project

On-scene coordinators from EPA Region 7 began environmental sampling on Friday as part of an investigation into a potential hazardous materials site in Kansas City, Kan. The five-acre property, owned by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., is now under security watch by the Kansas City Police Department to guard against trespassers and ensure public safety while the EPA's investigation continues.

Acting on a tip from a confidential source, EPA inspectors visited the site earlier last week and found what appeared to be a number of environmental hazards, including abandoned drums and containers of various unknown substances, suspected pesticide wastes, broken fluorescent light bulbs, used tires and oil, an electrical transformer, abandoned vehicles and industrial equipment, and other suspicious material.

EPA said its initial investigation has shown that the property is owned by the Unified Government but has been leased since 2006 to Industrial Liquidators LLC, an industrial machinery firm based in Kansas City, Mo. Prior to being leased, the property was used as an equipment and supply storage area by the Kansas City, Kan., Parks Department, records indicate.

On-scene coordinators began collecting samples of material from the site for testing in order to more clearly determine and define any environmental hazards and health risks that may be posed by material at the location, EPA said. The Unified Government also is working to construct a security fence around the property to keep trespassers out. The site is situated adjacent to the Juniper Gardens public housing project and a community gardens project. EPA said its Community Involvement Coordinators will schedule a neighborhood meeting soon to provide area residents with updates about the agency's activities at the site, and to share any health and safety information that may be warranted. At least until results from sampling activity are known, EPA urged all persons to stay away from the site, with a special emphasis for parents to keep children off the property.

Anyone who may have information about hazardous materials or improper waste disposal at the site is urged to contact Barbara Peterson at EPA's Office of Regional Counsel, 913-551-7277, or peterson.barbara@epa.gov.

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