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Report: High Lead Levels Found at Ithaca Falls


Ithaca, N.Y. (WENY) - A new report compiled for the Department of Environmental Conservation by the Environmental Testing Laboratory "TestAmerica" has revealed there is a high level of lead contamination at the Ithaca Falls Trail.

The report was obtained by "Toxics Targeting" Walter Hang. Hang says, "When people go to and from our famous falls, they don't know it but they are walking through areas with stunningly high levels of lead, which is very toxic and can impair the mental development of children."

The City of Ithaca announced on it's website Saturday that the Environmental Protection Agency will conduct additional tests to evaluate the next steps needed to address the contamination. We reached out to the city for comment, but we have not yet heard back. For their full statement, click here.

Hang says the authorities recently documented up to 69,000 parts per million of lead, and that's more than 150 times the cleanup requirement. He also claims four previous cleanup jobs were botched.

Hang says the contamination stems from the former Ithaca Gun factory, which was located above the falls. He says, "This contamination is raining down from an upper cliff face where dumping occurred at the Ithaca gun factory many many decades ago, but the lead is an element. It never breaks down."

The DEC has been overseeing the site cleanup and testing for several years. Last September, a DEC report said an investigation found the site no longer poses a threat to human heath or the environment, and issued a No Further Action Remedy. To view that report, click here.

After the most recent soil sample analysis, Hang is urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to take action. He says, "This is a paramount public health matter. It just has to be cleaned up and that's why we are calling on Governor Cuomo to add this site to the national priority list so the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can come in and clean up this site top to bottom, once and for all."

For the full report, click here.