The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces it is lowering recommended screening levels and strengthening guidance for investigating and cleaning up lead-contaminated soil in residential areas. This is the second time that EPA has reduced the screening value for lead in soil at residential properties. The original screening level range of 500 to 1,000 parts per million (ppm) was established in 1989. The original screening value was reduced to 400 ppm in 1994.
As a result of lower screening levels, EPA expects to investigate more residential properties for potential cleanup under the Superfund law and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Today’s action delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing commitment to protect communities from lead poisoning, particularly in disadvantaged and overburdened communities facing multiple sources of lead exposure, advancing President Biden’s environmental justice goals.
EPA is lowering the screening level for lead in soil at residential properties from 400 ppm to 200 ppm. At residential properties with multiple sources of lead exposure, EPA will generally use 100 ppm as the screening level. Screening levels are not cleanup standards. EPA aims to help site teams make site-specific cleanup decisions to protect nearby communities; EPA makes cleanup decisions specific to each site, using site-specific factors, including risk factors and community input that can vary from site to site.
While the guidance goes into effect immediately, EPA welcomes feedback from the public for any future updates to the guidance. Please submit written feedback on the guidance in the public docket (Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2023-0664) for 60 days, from January 17, 2024, to March 17, 2024.