U.S. EPA’s Updated Soil Lead Guidance For CERCLA Sites And RCRA Corrective Action Facilities

On Jan. 17, 2024, the U.S. EPA updated its residential lead screening levels for soil. The updated guidance is a culmination of a years-long effort to strengthen the investigation and cleanup of lead-contaminated soil to protect children from lead exposure. The updated guidance lowers the recommended lead screening levels for direct contact with soil from 400 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg or parts per million) to 200 mg/kg for residential settings and recommends application of 100 mg/kg if additional sources of lead exposure are present (e.g., lead in drinking water, lead paint, etc.). No changes to industrial lead levels are proposed.

The DNR is reviewing the U.S. EPA’s guidance and consulting with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to determine how it may apply in Wisconsin. The DNR expects to have more information soon.

The new guidance is intended to apply to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) sites immediately, and the U.S. EPA is currently working on an implementation plan. If you have specific questions about the application of the guidance to RCRA and CERCLA sites, please reach out to the following DNR contacts:

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