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Page last updated on December 13, 2021 at 3:30 pm

Last updated on December 13, 3:29 p.m.


A detailed third-party report delivered late Friday, December 10 concluded that samples of air, surface dust, surface soil and leaf litter collected in the vicinity of a recent controlled burn exhibited no lead contamination in excess of state and federal standards, and recommended that no further action is warranted.

The report was published by VET Environmental Engineering (VET), with whom the City contracted to provide lead abatement oversight, confirmatory investigations, and reporting, including coordination of abatement activities with clean-up contractor Environmental Assurance Company, Inc. (EACI), area air sampling during abatement activities, and confirmatory post-abatement soil sampling analyzed by an independent laboratory. Activities responded to areas where debris was dispersed after the Bloomington Fire Department’s (BFD) November 5 controlled burn of a residence on South High Street conducted to provide training to firefighters. 

VET’s report stated: “All lead abatement and confirmatory sampling was conducted in accordance with applicable published guidelines….It is VET's professional opinion that further investigation of lead contamination at the site is not warranted." 

Additionally, the Monroe County Health Department confirmed that blood samples collected from firefighters who operated at the burn and from residents who sought testing at a voluntary, free site on December 4, did not indicate any elevated levels of lead. 

The VET report, available at, contained the following findings:

  • Visible paint chips deposited in the area as a result of the burn were confirmed to be  lead-based paint (LBP). 

  • 13 area air samples collected exhibited no detection of lead in the air, including during abatement activities.

  • Surface dust readings conducted using x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) showed non-excessive levels of lead dust contamination.

  • All 56 surface soil samples collected were within the published background range of lead in soils according to Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) guidelines. None of the samples exceeded 200 parts per million (ppm) for lead. IDEM requires action to be taken if lead levels exceed 400 ppm. 

  • Analysis of the leaf litter exhibited no detection of lead, indicating that leachable lead was not present in detectable quantities. As such, the leaf litter did not constitute hazardous waste but was within normal parameters for disposal at a landfill. In an abundance of caution, the City did not compost leaves collected in the affected area as per usual practice.   

The BFD completed a controlled live burn training at 1213 South High Street November 2-5 after receiving approval from IDEM. Approved by the City for demolition, the two-story house at that address was donated by the owners for use by the BFD as an opportunity to conduct live fire training. The controlled burn had the unanticipated consequence of transporting ash and other debris, including paint flakes, to the residential neighborhood west of the burn site due to prevailing wind conditions (see this map of the affected area). Upon learning of the dispersal, BFD immediately coordinated with IDEM and Monroe County Emergency Management to address any potential lead contamination; personally connected with property owners and made resources for abatement available to them; and contracted with VET and EACI to conduct the evaluation and abatement of a total of 111 properties.  

This training exercise provided 94 Bloomington firefighters, many recently hired, invaluable experience. But in light of the community impact, Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore has stated no similar live-fire training should be conducted in the future. Chief Moore is working with the director of the Indiana Fire & Public Safety Academy and IDEM officials to ensure that lessons learned from this controlled burn are openly discussed in an effort to inform future approval processes or guidance to the state’s fire departments.  

The BFD invites residents with concerns about elevated lead levels to request an appointment for finger-prick blood testing at BFD headquarters (226 South College Avenue) through December 17 at 812-332-9763. More information about the City’s actions in response to the controlled burn is available at or by contacting Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore at



Updates and News Releases

December 13, 2021: Third-Party Report Finds Samples of Soil, Leaves, Surfaces in Area Affected by Controlled Burn Below Level of Concern for Lead–Click here.

December 03, 2021: BFD to Offer Lead Level Testing to Residents After Controlled Burn–Click here.

November 23, 2021: Soil Samples Do Not Indicate Actionable Lead Levels after Controlled Burn–Click here.

November 15, 2021: Air Testing Results Indicate No Lead Dust Contamination in Controlled Burn Vicinity–Click here.

November 10, 2021: Bloomington Fire Department and City Continue to Address Impacts of Controlled Burn–Click here.

November 8, 2021: City, BFD Conduct Cleanup After Controlled Burn–Click here.

November 5, 2021: Bloomington Fire Department Controlled Burn–Click here.

November 1, 2021: Bloomington Fire Department to Conduct Controlled Live Burn Training this Week–Click here.



Info Flyer for Nearby Residents

Click here to view the flyer.



Remediation Request Form

Please complete this form if you would like to have your home considered for exterior remediation following the contained burn exercise on November 5. Depending on the severity of contamination in your area, remediation may include particle vacuuming, air monitoring and wiping down of outdoor surfaces within reach like porch furniture and railings.

The City has entered into a contract with Environmental Assurance Company, Inc. (EACI) to perform remediation and has contracted with VET Environmental for monitoring expertise. Several contractor teams are currently in affected areas, working their way out from the source of the debris. If your property is determined to be in an area of concern, remediation will be offered. There will be no charge for this service and permission to operate on your property will be requested. 

Bloomington Fire Department personnel continue to work closely with health and environmental specialists, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Monroe County Department of Health to continue to amass information based on scientifically valid sampling methods performed in the area. Based on the information gathered, the map shared below and available online as a PDF has been created identifying those homes determined to be an area of concern and eligible for possible remediation. 

If your property does not appear in an area of concern on the map, testing did not indicate contamination and you should not expect a remediation crew to perform work there.

Click here to submit a request or call 812-332-9763.



BFD Burn Map



Guidelines provided by Monroe County Health Department


Take precautions before and during clean-up of paint dust and debris, especially with houses built before 1978:

  • Keep pregnant women, children and pets away.
  • Wear disposable gloves and consider wearing a Hepa filter (if vacuuming) or an N-95 mask.
  • Use of paper towels is recommended, a new one for each area. Mist area with water before cleaning/sweeping exposed areas. Do NOT sweep or wipe up with dry cloth/towel. Clean from up to down, and from outside to in to avoid spreading dust.
  • Use any all-purpose, non-abrasive cleaner (i.e. dishwasher detergent which has mild phosphates in it) or TSP, a lead-specific detergent.
  • Pour any wash and rinse water down the toilet, not the sink.
  • Place washable rugs at the entrances of your home, to prevent tracking of lead dust and soil inside.
  • Thoroughly wash all clothes and skin that may have come into contact with lead dust as soon as possible upon entering home.



The Monroe County Health Department has provided the following links for information about gardening in soil with potential lead contamination: