EPA Investigates Lead Contaminated Soil in Trenton, NJ

Lead Exposures Found in Trenton, NJ Related to the City’s Past Pottery Industry

Lead exposure has become a concern across generations, with contamination being found in many areas, products, etc. over the years. Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found soil contaminated with lead in Trenton, NJ across certain public parks, residential homes and public schools.

In 2020 the EPA launched an investigation into the pottery industry as a potential source for contaminated soil after learning many pottery factories operated in that area—often using lead-based materials.

Then in 2023 and 2024, the EPA sampled residential homes and public schools, finding elevated lead levels in the soil.

Lead Contamination at Three Public Parks

The results from the EPA’s sample analyses found lead contamination at Sony Vereen Playground, Breunig Avenue Park and the Grant Avenue Playground. To help protect park-goers, there have been signs put up encouraging visitors to pay attention to the fenced-off areas and avoid lead exposure.

The EPA has also provided tips to limit exposure when visiting any of the three parks:

  • Avoid digging or disturbing the soil
  • Wash hands thoroughly after visiting the parks, especially before eating
  • Remove shoes before entering homes and buildings to avoid tracking in contaminated soil
  • Supervise children closely and prevent them from putting dirt in their mouths

There is also a continued partnership between the EPA and the City of Trenton to develop a more solid plan of protection for residents—helping them reduce any health risks associated with lead exposure.

Additionally, EPA on-scene coordinator, Jon Byk has stated that it’s chronic exposure that poses the most danger to park visitors. Visiting the park once doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have an adverse health effect from the lead levels. However, true Long-term lead exposure can have many negative effects on those affected.

School Playground Affected by Elevated Lead Levels

The playground and grassy areas at Ulysses S. Grant Intermediate School in Trenton, NJ also experienced lead-contaminated soil as a result of the area’s involvement in the pottery industry many years ago.

Now the EPA has sealed off those affected areas until a proper plan is in place to protect the students and replace the soil. However, the city’s mayor states that digging up and replacing the dirt could take six months.

Homes Near the Parks Also Experiencing Lead Contamination

Up until now, 130 homes near the parks were also tested and the results showed elevated levels of lead contamination in the soil. Over the next several months, the EPA will deploy protective measures for the impacted residential properties to help reduce exposure, especially for young children and pregnant women who are at a higher risk of adverse health effects.

The EPA will also continue to offer free soil testing to residential property owners inside the affected area during this spring and summer.

The Importance of Lead Testing to Prevent Exposures

While the EPA stepped in to investigate in Trenton, NJ, imagine what might have happened if no investigation or testing were conducted at all?

Testing for lead is vital in many scenarios, especially when a historical use for your land may have involved lead-based materials. Having a trusted lead testing lab can be an important part of keeping everyone safe on your property or facility.

Environmental Hazards Services offers multiple forms of lead testing to help you discover it and prevent adverse health effects.

Contact us today and set up testing for projects of any size, scope or complexity.