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Fact Sheet

August 2015

EPA Removal Action, Former United Zinc and Associated Smelters Superfund Site, Iola, Allen County, Kansas


Iola, Kansas, was the home of several zinc and lead smelting plants during the early 1900s. These plants were demolished long ago. However, the lead contamination these smelters distributed throughout the city of Iola still remains as a health risk. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 7 has a responsibility to address risks to human health and the environment posed by this contamination.


EPA began testing residential soil for lead contamination in 2006. Approximately 1,500 properties were tested by the time sampling concluded in 2007. Cleanups of properties with 800 parts per million (ppm) or more were performed during the testing effort. In 2013, EPA returned to Iola to test residential properties that were not tested in 2006-2007. The 2013 testing identified about 1,050 properties above the screening level of 400 ppm. Approximately 350 of these properties have lead at or above 800 ppm.


EPA plans to return to Iola in September 2015 and continue the cleanup of residential properties with lead concentrations above 800 ppm. The cleanup will continue to address lead contamination at schools, daycares and residences. Owners of homes that qualify for cleanup will be contacted later this year to make arrangements for cleanup. These cleanups will be done at no cost to the homeowner.


While the cleanups of properties with lead at levels greater than 800 ppm are being performed, EPA will make plans to clean up properties that have lead between 400 and 800 ppm. A comprehensive plan for addressing lead in soil is now being developed. EPA intends to make the plan available for public comment before the end of the calendar year.

  1. EPA will address cleanup of all residential soils with 400 ppm lead or more.
  2. Cleanup of properties with lead between 400 and 800 ppm will begin once this plan is finalized next year.
  3. Soil test results from the 2013 sampling event will be mailed to property owners in the near future.


Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Children are more sensitive to lead than adults and can develop lifelong learning disabilities and behavior problems from lead exposure. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should also avoid exposure to lead to protect their children. Lead poisoning can cause these health effects in infants and young children:

For more information about lead, visit this online fact sheet.

Lead exposure and its effects can be reduced by:


The only way to know if your child has elevated blood lead levels is to have his or her blood tested. EPA encourages parents to have their children tested for lead exposure. You can contact your private physician or the Southeast Kansas Health Department for a blood testing location.

SEK Multi-County Health Department
221 South Jefferson Avenue
Iola, Kansas 66749


An Administrative Record was established for the Former United Zinc and Associated Smelters Superfund site. The Administrative Record contains site-related documents and is available for review at the following locations: 

Iola Public Library
218 E Madison Avenue
Iola, Kansas 66749

EPA Region 7 Records Office
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, Kansas 66219

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the following:

Karim Dawani
Community Engagement Specialist
Enforcement Coordination Office
U.S. EPA, Region 7
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, Kansas 66219
Phone: 913-551-7289
Toll-free: 1-800-223-0425
Email: dawani.karim@epa.gov

Randy Schademann
On-Scene Coordinator
U.S. EPA, Region 7
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, Kansas 66219
Phone: 913-551-7331
Email: schademann.randy@epa.gov

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