Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore said the Bloomington Fire Department did not check for lead paint at the site of their controlled burn exercise during a press conference Tuesday.
“We followed every step and process required by law and regulation, including approvals from IDEM,” Moore said, referring to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. “It was fairly expensive to remediate everything on the IDEM checklist, which unfortunately did not include lead paint.”
The controlled burn at 1213 S. High St. on Nov. 5, intended as a training exercise according to a City of Bloomington press release, resulted in the spreading of debris. Some of the samples collected contained high amounts of lead, though air testing results indicated no lead dust in the vicinity of the burn, according to a recent press release.
Moore said the BFD does not have expertise in environmental management, which is why the IDEM inspection is required by the state before structured burns. Moore said he also intends to take the issue to the state level and request lead paint inspections be included for all future IDEM evaluations.
“We regret this, we don’t intend to cause harm, we are here to help,” Moore said. “We did not know this was an issue prior to the burn.”
Moore said the cleanup is being handled by the Environmental Assurance Company Inc. and VET Environmental Engineering, LLC who also conducted the air testing. The cleanup crews are working to remove debris from the affected area as well as conduct surface wipe testing.
Test results of soil and other collected materials are expected to be released by the end of the week, according to the most recent release. Moore said he recommends people wear gloves before handling any potential debris, and wash their hands after. The City of Bloomington created a map of the affected area for potentially impacted residents.