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Lead Poisoning a Concern in Ottawa County - KOAM TV 7

Lead Poisoning a Concern in Ottawa County

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OTTAWA COUNTY, OK -

The 18th annual Tar Creek Conference just wrapped up in Miami. The event addresses local environmental issues. Officials who put on the conference say Ottawa County residents should still be worried about lead on their properties.
You can't see it, but it can have life altering affects. Officials are saying it could be in any of yard in the county. Lead, leftover from mine waste.
“There’s piles and piles and millions of tons of it left and a lot of it was used in this area in driveways as gravel and as fill in yards,” says Rebecca Jim, Executive Director of the Local Environmental Action Demanded Agency.
Jim and the Local Environmental Action Demanded Agency say it’s still a big problem, one that residents need to address.
“I think every single resident in Ottawa County should be concerned because if they don’t have children living in their house now, playing in that yard, 20 years from now there could be,” says Jim.
The former Mayor of Miami, now working with L.E.A.D, says chat was used for roadwork before city officials knew it was dangerous.
“It was all in the roadwork because they would go in and throw the chat in the alleys to fill up the holes,” says Louis “Red” Mathia.
The EPA dug up the lead but residents are responsible for their own properties. Mathia had his 2 properties checked.
“I rent one of them out, they have kids on the property. I don't want to be responsible for children living in a place I own and being sick,” says Mathia.
According to the state Health Department, the number of children with lead poising in Oklahoma has increased in recent years. Officials at the L.E.A.D agency say it only takes the equivalent of three grains of sugar to poison a child and that’s why they're encouraging county residents to have their properties checked.
“It’s a big problem but it’s one that we can deal with. Lead is one of the only diseases that a child can have that is totally preventable. We can get rid of this stuff. We can dig it up and we can have DEQ haul it away,” says Jim.
The DEQ will check for lead and remove it at no cost to the homeowner.
Ottawa County residents are interested in having their properties checked
can get in touch with the L.E.A.D Agency by calling 918-542-9399

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