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Jefferson County homeowners are invited to an open house meeting concerning the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to address lead contamination in the county.

The meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Hillsboro Community Civic Center, 10349 Business 21.

At the meeting, the EPA, which has been investigating lead contamination in Jefferson County for more than a decade, will discuss the agency’s request to conduct free lead testing of soil in yards and of private drinking water wells throughout the county.

Those interested in learning more about the testing are invited to attend any part of the two-hour session. EPA officials will provide a presentation on its efforts in the county at 7 p.m.

Those who have yards and wells with a level of 400 parts of lead per million or higher will be eligible for free remediation.

Of particular interest to the EPA is property along the Big River and in that river’s floodplain.

Sites with high lead concentration have been identified throughout the county, which is part of the old Lead Belt mining district of southeast Missouri.

Because homeowners may have unknowingly bought lead-tainted fill soil or gravel, contamination may occur anywhere, according to EPA officials.

Areas around the Doe Run Co. lead smelter in Herculaneum are part of a separate investigation.

To schedule free testing of your property or private well, call the EPA at 1-800-223-0425 or its contractor, TetraTech, at 636-797-8446.

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