East Helena residents probably already know that a soil lead abatement program has been started at Dartman Field (Valley Drive and Lewis Street) in preparation for the new school. About 12 inches of soil have been moved to a large pile. I live directly across the street from the site and Saturday, July 15 at 6:45 PM one of those weather related mini bursts so common this time of year suddenly blew a very strong gust of wind which picked up a huge cloud of dust and dirt and pushed it directly into our neighborhood. It was in my eyes and mouth and it occurred to me that if indeed there is an appreciable amount of lead in the soil this could be a problem.

I sent an email to Mayor James Schell, City Attorney Pete Elverum and the local EPA office asking that this question be addressed ASAP.

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I wanted to get back to you on your article. Helena Sand & Gravel was the construction manager for the lead abatement on Dartman Field. Dick Anderson Construction will be the construction manager for the new school building.

The lead abatement has been completed for the new location of the school. The contaminated soil has been placed in a stockpile and treated with a tackifier product and seeded to prevent erosion. The tackifier acts like a glue on the surface of the stockpile. The stockpile will be tested to insure it is below EPA limits for lead and arsenic. It is our belief that it will be below the EPA required levels.

The dust that you experienced from the micro burst was from the construction site area that had already been abated. We will continue to test to ensure that we have no issues. We are currently working on the new school project with Dick Anderson, and currently have two water trucks onsite. It is HSG’s goal to limit any dust leaving the project site. I encourage you to give me a call anytime you have any concerns regarding this work.


Solomon Redfern
Project Manager
Helena Sand & Gravel