Press Releases

WILMINGTON, DE - Senator Tom Carper demanded the Army Corps of Engineers work with full force and energy to clean up lead contamination from the St. George's Bridge that may endanger residents' health. Carper is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the Corps. "Lead levels consistent with those found in and around the St. Georges Bridge can be extremely harmful to human health – particularly to small children," Carper said. "It is therefore critical that the Corps take immediate steps to locate and remove contaminated soil from areas adjacent to the Bridge." Carper took issue with a quote from a Corps member warning that the clean up might be "complicated." "Given the history of disagreement between the State of Delaware and the Corps on matters involving the bridge, this assessment does not breed confidence in the Corps' willingness to move expeditiously on this matter," Carper said. "I wish to make it clear to you that anything less than complete Corps cooperation in a speedy and thorough cleanup is unacceptable." The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control recently issued a warning to residents in the vicinity of the St. Georges Bridge, that soil samples contained significant levels of lead contamination. These samples indicated that lead levels in some areas were as much as 7 times the level considered safe for human contact. This most recent action by the State follows on similar warnings issued by the State last year after samples reveled increased lead-levels in the soil around the Bridge. ### LTG Robert B Flowers Commander U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 441 G. Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20314-1000 Dear General Flowers: I am writing to respectfully urge the Corps to move swiftly to clean up lead contamination from the St. Georges Bridge and to rehabilitate the bridge in a way to prevent further contamination. On Friday, June 15, 2001, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control issued a warning to residents in the vicinity of the St. Georges Bridge, that soil samples contained significant levels of lead contamination. These samples indicated that lead levels in some areas were as much as 7 times the level considered safe for human contact. This most recent action by the State follows on similar warnings issued by the State last year after samples reveled increased lead-levels in the soil around the Bridge. I was troubled to read in the Wilmington News Journal that the initial Corps response to this very disturbing news is that a cleanup of the area might be "complicated". Given the history of disagreement between the State of Delaware and the Corps on matters involving the bridge, this assessment does not breed confidence in the Corps' willingness to move expeditiously on this matter. I wish to make it clear to you that anything less than complete Corps cooperation in a speedy and thorough cleanup is unacceptable. Lead levels consistent with those found in and around the St. Georges Bridge, can be extremely harmful to human health – particularly to small children. It is therefore critical that the Corps take immediate steps to locate and remove contaminated soil from areas adjacent to the Bridge. In recent months, the Corps has taken steps to safely remove lead paint from the span and to repaint the Bridge so that further contamination is averted. While I appreciate the Corps' willingness to undertake this important project, it is now time for the Corps to take the next step and clean up the soil contamination caused by flaking paint from the bridge. Thank you for taking this issue seriously and I look forward to working with you to help mitigate the potential health-effects of the lead contamination in and around the St. Georges Bridge. Sincerely Thomas R. Carper US Senator