GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 187-9
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


AZAR, Benjamin D.1, DOWLING, Carolyn B.1, HAEFT, Jessique2, NEUMANN, Klaus1 and DANZL-TAUER, Peter1, (1)Department of Geological Sciences, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, (2)Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306

Approximately seven percent of residents tested in Delaware County had elevated blood lead levels, which is more than double the national average. Lead (Pb) adsorption is known to cause serious adverse health effects because it replaces calcium in the body, leading to cell death and damage to the nervous system. Potential sources of lead in the environment include lead-based paint, lead leachate in drinking water, and lead contamination in soil. Determining and remediating the Pb sources is imperative because the accumulated lead can be released slowly from the body’s reservoirs (e.g., bones and teeth) over a lifetime, leading to continuous exposure to lead.

Mapping of blood lead (Pb) levels utilized blood lead data provided by Regenstrief Institute. Through ArcGIS Pro, spatial patterns were analyzed in lead levels across multiple metrics including a) blood test results 0 to 5 ug/dL, >10ug/dL, and >25ug/dL b) age group, and c) season. Aforementioned metrics were compared both to poverty and housing age statistics at the block group level.

To accurately assess the presence of lead in soils from possible sources such as legacy manufacturing sites or leaded gasoline, a comprehensive, biased sampling approach was developed. Soil samples were collected from at-risk areas as indicated by blood lead levels exceeding 10ug/dL. Soil sample analyses will be conducted via EPA method 3050B for bio-available lead and confirmed by an external lab for quality assurance. A map of soil data will be generated and overlain on the blood lead levels map. These layers will be analyzed alongside the social datasets (e.g., poverty and housing age). Should the soils contain significant contamination, the maps and associated data can be used to develop a remediation plan for the Delaware County area.