DHEC, EPA conduct tests for lead and arsenic

(Columbia,SC WACH)- The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, along with the U.S, Environmental Protection Agency were busy in one Columbia neighborhood.

The two agencies spent Saturday at the Edisto Court community near Rosewood looking for high levels of lead and arsenic in the air and soil. Officials say it comes from a recent independent study done. They point to a previous plant in the area that operated in the 20th century. They say the recent SEACO plant investigation nearby is not related.

EPA On-Scene Coordinator Rick Jardine said residents have been told about it and how to protect themselves. He said they were not too concerned, but wonder if it will effect their property value?

"We told them to ensure proper hygiene. Wash your hands and so fourth if your children come in from playing in the yard. Many of them are expressing interest in the blood screening and urine analysis screening DHEC is offering next week. Nationwide, property values are not that great. Will this throw another stigma onto their property? That is a concern.

DHEC will also drill next week to collect soil cores. If there is a high level of lead or arsenic, they plan to remove the soil in the community and replace it with fresh soil.