2023-24 Soil Sampling and Remediation
Dec. 2023 Update:
In October, we communicated that soil samples at five schools came back with elevated lead levels that need to be addressed. That work is now underway.
Environmental Group Management, Inc. (EGM), is an approved soil remediation contractor. EGM will begin work on Monday, Dec. 4, at Walnut Hill Elementary. Work at Kennedy Elementary and Beals Elementary will follow. Work at all three schools should be completed by Friday, Dec. 8.
Work at the final two school campuses will proceed in 2024 as weather allows. Those schools are Conestoga Elementary and Skinner Elementary. Affected areas will stay fenced off until work is complete.
If you have questions about the Omaha Lead Superfund Site and work to address soil contamination, please contact the Omaha Lead Information Line at (402) 731-3045 or visit the City of Omaha’s website. If you have healthcare-related questions about your child or family, please contact Douglas County Health at (402) 444-7825 or your family’s medical provider. Complete details about Omaha Public Schools work to address this concern are on our website.
Our first priority is always the health, safety and well-being of the community we serve.
Since 1998, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has actively addressed lead contamination in parts of our city. It is called the Omaha Lead Superfund Site.
For decades, lead refiners and lead battery recyclers operated near downtown Omaha. Both have long been closed. In the last 25 years, crews have tested 42,860 soil samples and replaced 414,327 cubic yards of contaminated dirt. In 2002, Omaha Public Schools tested soil at all schools and buildings for lead. Any issues identified were addressed.
Since then, Omaha Public Schools has tested for lead whenever a new building is constructed or new dirt is brought onto district property. Health and safety are our first priorities.
The City of Omaha regularly tests soil in the Omaha Lead Superfund Site. Current testing at Omaha Public Schools locations is updating the data recorded in 2002. Many homes, schools, parks and more are located within the site. Samples from five school grounds came back with levels that need to be addressed. The schools include:
- Beals Elementary
- Conestoga Elementary
- Kennedy Elementary
- Skinner Elementary
- Walnut Hill Elementary
At this time, the City of Omaha has not identified any other schools with sections of soil that need to be replaced.
Our Immediate Action
We are working with the City of Omaha to gather all of the test results. Their staff recommended covering exposed dirt in areas that need to be addressed. Our district set up temporary orange fencing extending well beyond where tests came back with elevated levels.
We will work closely with the City of Omaha to complete all of the remediation, or soil replacement. There are currently 465 properties in the City of Omaha on the remediation list. Outdoor activities can proceed normally on each school campus. We take this most seriously and will keep working for the safety of our students, staff and families.
Our Next Steps
Contaminated soil impacts families and property owners throughout the Omaha Lead Superfund Site. We have attached more information to this email. If you would like to learn more about the work underway throughout Omaha, we will host a meeting with the DCHD on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. inside Skinner Elementary. The address is 4304 N. 33rd St., Omaha, NE 68111.
It is possible additional school grounds will need some soil replaced as the City of Omaha and DCHD continue testing throughout the Omaha Lead Superfund Site. If that happens, we will work directly with impacted staff and families. Open communication is our priority.
If you have questions about the Omaha Lead Superfund Site and work to address soil contamination, please contact the Omaha Lead Information Line at (402) 731-3045 or visit the City of Omaha’s website. If you have healthcare-related questions about your child or family, please contact Douglas County Health at (402) 444-7825 or your family’s medical provider.
We care so incredibly much about the students, staff and families we have the privilege to serve. Thank you for your partnership in this community-wide effort.
What is the new information about soil testing and Omaha Public Schools?
What part of the school campus is impacted?
What is being done to address the issue?
Can outdoor activities proceed at impacted schools?
What if I do not want my child to participate in outdoor activities at an impacted school?
Should children be tested for lead?
What schools had soil samples with elevated levels of lead?
What has Omaha Public Schools done to test for lead and address issues?
What is the Omaha Lead Superfund Site?