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Reading,

Pennsylvania Exide Source Footprint Study



A pro bono Community Service Project of The Department of Chemistry
Metropolitan State University of Denver

March 15, 2017


Performed by:
Michael E. Ketterer, PhD, Professor of Chemistry, Project Leader
Email: mkettere@msudenver.edu Phone: 928.853.7188
Delilah DeWilde, undergraduate student participant
Karolina Ryncarz, undergraduate student participant

Nathan Aist, undergraduate student participant


Seth Youtsey, undergraduate student participant
In collaboration with: Nicole C. Brambila, Reading Eagle Company


Executive Summary. We have investigated potential sources of lead (Pb) in soils near the
formerly operating Exide Technologies secondary lead smelter located at Laureldale, PA.
The specific aim herein is to address the following questions: A) is there evidence of
significant lead accumulation in Reading-area soils as a result of contributions from Exides
historic atmospheric emissions (i.e., stack emissions and fugitive dusts); and B) are soil
levels exceeding the threshold of concern (650 parts per million lead, abbreviated herein as
ppm Pb) identified by a 2000 EPA Administrative Order on Consent with the company. In
order to investigate whether Exide is a major contributing source of Pb, we propose the
hypothesis that emissions from secondary lead smelting will contribute the element
antimony (chemical symbol Sb, abbreviated as such herein) in quantities that are
correlated, and proportional to, the Pb concentrations. The basis of this hypothesis is that
antimony is present in the feedstock processed at secondary lead smelters, the majority of
which is recycled automotive and industrial batteries; lead-acid battery technology long
used Sb as an alloying agent in metal components such as posts, grids, cables, and
terminals. Accordingly, if Exide is a significant contributor, we expect to also find elevated
soil Sb concentrations that are significantly correlated with Pb concentrations in Exide-
vicinity soils. Alternatively, if Exide is not a significant contributor, then we expect to find
an absence of elevated Sb concentrations even when soil Pb concentrations are elevated as
a result of other anthropogenic sources.
We investigated this problem and the hypothesis stated above, through a study conducted
in 2016 and 2017. In May and July 2016, soil samples were collected as 30 cm, 5.2 cm i.d.
soil cores, and/or surface composites of the top 5 cm of the soil profile. From the soil cores,
we removed the top 5 cm of material, analyzed this portion, while examining Pb
concentrations at > 5 cm depth from a limited number of sites. Soil samples were collected
through collaboration of the following individuals: Michael E. Ketterer (MSU Denver),
Delilah DeWilde (MSU Denver), Karolina Ryncarz (MSU Denver), Nathan Aist (MSU
Denver), Seth Youtsey (MSU Denver), Nicole C. Brambila (Reading Eagle Company), Mike
Urban (Reading Eagle Company), and Jillian Clemente (Reading Eagle Company). The study
obtained soil samples from 81 residential locations and 15 additional non-residential
locations; the majority of these locations were within 2 km of the Exide facility. A map
depicting the sampled locations is depicted in Figure 1. At ~ 75% of the locations, single
grab samples were collected as 30 cm depth, 5.2 cm diameter soil cores from a randomly
chosen location within a given property. Our analytical work concentrated on this 0-5 cm
depth interval for two reasons: A) it is the most accessible material at the surface, and
therefore, the material most relevant to human exposure; and B) if an atmospheric lead
contamination source is present, the enrichment is most prominent at the soil surface.
For a subset of the locations, we collected duplicate soil cores from additional locations
within the same property, and/or composite samples, the latter consisting of multiple 0-
5 cm depth intervals from a coring device that were then combined in the field.
Soil samples were shipped to the Chemistry Department and were processed therein;
material was dried, pulverized, and subjected to chemical analyses to measure the
elements Pb and Sb. Throughout the project, samples were handled following chain-of-
custody practices to preserve the integrity of the samples. Final analytical sub-samples of
nominal 0.25 grams were taken; sub-samples were dry-ashed at 450o C for 2-3 hours to

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remove organic matter, and the mineral residues were dissolved with a mixture of nitric
acid and hydrofluoric acid, followed by treatment with boric acid. The vast majority of the
samples were analyzed for both Sb and Pb by inductively coupled plasma mass
spectrometry; for a subset of the samples, we measured Pb-only using the technique of
flame atomic absorption spectrometry. The elements lead and antimony were measured
and reported as concentrations in parts per million by mass; the terms ppm, micrograms
per gram, and the abbreviation g/g are all synonymous, and we use ppm herein. The
uncertainties in all measurements are conservatively estimated as 10% relative,
signifying, a result of 300 ppm should be interpreted as 300 30.

The main findings of the study are as follows:


The vast majority (n=73, 90%) of the residential soil sampling locations exhibited
lead (Pb) concentrations of less than 650 ppm in the 0-5 cm depth interval. Eight
residences (10% of total sampled) exhibited one or more samples exceeding 650
ppm Pb in the top 5 cm of the soil profile.

Only one residential location exhibited soil Pb concentrations > 1000 ppm Pb in the
top 5 cm of soil.
The range of Pb concentrations encountered generally argues against the presence
of a pervasive Pb contamination issue in residential locations near the Exide facility.
Analysis of the depth profiles of Pb in selected soil cores generally indicates
decreasing Pb concentrations with depth.
Despite the large number of samples, there is limited information available to form a
firm picture of the relationship between Pb concentrations in residential soils vs.
distance from the Exide facility. Many residential locations are highly disturbed,
meaning, human activity and/or natural erosion has affected the integrity of the soil,
which, in many cases, does not reflect the cumulative deposition from Exides ~
eight decades of operation.
Non-residential locations in the un-remediated wooded areas, close to Exide,
exhibited > 1000 ppm Pb. At a control (wooded) location ~ 1.5 miles distant,
concentrations of ~ 150-200 ppm Pb were found. These non-residential data points
represent soils having the greatest probability of being minimally disturbed; their
results generally indicate that there is a general trend with decreasing Exide impact
vs. distance from the facility.

It is likely that many of the residential soil sampling locations are disturbed and do
not contain the entire deposited inventory of anthropogenic lead. The net result of
these processes is that lower Pb concentrations are found than would be otherwise
expected. No attempt has yet been made to investigate soil disturbances via
measurements of 137Cs or plutonium as indicators of soil disturbance.
Concentrations of antimony (Sb) were also measured in the soil samples. In a
general way, these indicate significant correlation between Sb and Pb, which is

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consistent with a secondary lead smelting contribution from the Exide facility. The
basis for this association is that secondary lead smelting feed contained Sb as an
alloying agent mixed with Pb metals (e.g., battery grids and terminals). Soils
containing > 1000 ppm Pb, obrtained from locations close to Exide, consistently
exhibited elevated Sb, with Sb/Pb ~ 0.02 0.05.

Additional data points from residential locations > 5 miles from Exide, especially
those with older housing and close to vehicle traffic, would be ideally needed to
expand upon this analysis, and to better delineate contributions from Exide vs. other
human-derived lead sources.
Although it is clear that Exide is a contributing, major source to the Pb inventory in
proximal soils, it is difficult to quantitatively model or apportion the Exide-derived
contribution to the soils without better definition of two items: A) the expected
Sb/Pb ratio from Exide emissions; and B) the Sb/Pb ratios characteristic of lead-
contaminated properties from the Reading vicinity, but from more distant locations
(i.e., ~ 5 km or greater distances) unaffected by Exide and influenced solely by non-
Exide sources.


Figure 1. Soil collection locations for the 2016 sampling undertaken by MSU Denver and
the Reading Eagle Company.

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Introduction. Many studies have reported elevated concentrations of lead (Pb) in soils in
the proximity of secondary Pb smelting facilities. These facilities recover Pb from
industrial scrap, using thermal and chemical processes; the most important stream of Pb-
bearing scrap is automotive and industrial lead-acid batteries. Several workers have
reported Pb contamination in the proximity of presently operating or former lead
secondary smelting sites (Kimbrough et al., 1995; Kimbrough and Suffet, 1996; Amter and
Eckel, 1996; Kimbrough and Cardner, 1999; Eckel et al., 2002; Machemer et al., 2007).
The 2002 study of Eckel et al. reported the use of the element antimony (Sb) as a
pathfinder element for contamination emanating from secondary lead smelting. The latter
element was long used in automotive and industrial lead-acid batteries as an alloying agent
in Pb metal, to render the Pb components harder and more durable with respect to
mechanical integrity. For this reason, Eckel et al. discussed the potential use of Sb/Pb
ratios as fingerprints of secondary lead smelting contamination, and the use of this ratio as
a means of discriminating between secondary lead smelting contamination vs. other
common anthropogenic lead sources (e.g., paint, historic gasoline emissions from tetraethyl
lead, other industrial sources). Eckel et al. reported a Sb/Pb range of 0.0016 0.034 for
various recognized former secondary Pb smelting sites throughout the US. Following this
same reasoning, Machemer et al. (2007) conducted a study of Sb and Pb concentrations in
the proximity of a Pb battery facility located at Greer, SC; these workers found a clear
correlation between Sb and Pb concentrations with a Sb/Pb ratio on the order of ~ 0.01 as
shown below in Figure 2:

Figure 2. Relationship
between Sb and Pb
concentrations found in the
study of Machemer et al.
(2007) in soils from Greer,
SC, from locations in the
proximity of a battery
manufacturing facility.
Refer to Figure 5 of
Machemer et al. (2007).

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Machemer et al. (2007) concluded that the lead production facility exhibited a measurable
footprint in soils in its immediate proximity; the Sb and Pb concentrations were relatively
well correlated, as can be seen by the green data points (trailer park soil litter) in Figure 2.
These workers also found that soils from other, more distant locations adjacent to heavily
traveled roads did not exhibit the same trend; Sb and Pb concentrations were relatively
uncorrelated, and Sb concentrations were found to be mainly < 1 ppm even when Pb
concentrations are elevated. This trend can be seen in the black data points for the
roadside litter soils.

In this study, we seek to investigate the Reading vicinity, to investigate whether Exide is a
major contributing source of Pb in soils near the plant. Previous studies near secondary
lead smelting facilities indicate a relatively intense effect but within a very limited spatial
range emanating from the facility (e.g., Eckel et al., 2002; Machemer et al., 2007); therefore,
we envisioned uncovering similar effects in the immediate vicinity of Exide. This facility
has been operating since the 1930s and the proximal area has received cumulative
emissions from stacks and surface level fugitive dusts. During the previous decade, Exide,
under US EPAs oversight, remediated 220 properties close to the facility that exhibited soil
Pb concentrations exceeding an action level of 650 ppm.
The specific aim herein is to address the following questions: A) is there evidence of
significant lead accumulation in Reading-area soils as a result of contributions from Exides
historic atmospheric emissions (i.e., stack emissions and fugitive dusts); and B) are soil
levels exceeding the threshold of concern (650 parts per million lead, abbreviated herein as
ppm Pb).

Sampling Methods. In May and July 2016, soil samples were collected as 30 cm, 5.2 cm i.d.
soil cores, and/or surface composites of the top 5 cm of the soil profile. Throughout the
project, samples were handled following chain-of-custody practices to preserve the
integrity of the samples. Steel tubing (electrical conduit, purchased at home renovation
stores, 5.2 cm internal diameter) was cut into 40 cm lengths; these tubes were driven into
the soil using a 3 lb sledgehammer, then retracted; the top of the soil core was packed with
paper towel to maintain its integrity, and the bottom of the soil core was taped to prevent
material from being lost. Soil samples were collected through collaboration of the
following individuals: Michael E. Ketterer (MSU Denver), Delilah DeWilde (MSU Denver),
Karolina Ryncarz (MSU Denver), Nathan Aist (MSU Denver), Seth Youtsey (MSU Denver),
Nicole C. Brambila (Reading Eagle Company), Mike Urban (Reading Eagle Company), and
Jillian Clemente (Reading Eagle Company). The study obtained soil samples from 81
residential locations and 15 additional non-residential locations; the majority of these
locations were within 2 km of the Exide facility. A map depicting the sampled locations is
depicted in Figure 1. At ~ 75% of the locations, single grab samples were collected as 30
cm depth, 5.2 cm diameter soil cores from a randomly chosen location within a given
property. Our analytical work concentrated on this 0-5 cm depth interval for two reasons:
A) it is the most accessible material at the surface, and therefore, the material most
relevant to human exposure; and B) if an atmospheric lead contamination source is
present, the enrichment is most prominent at the soil surface. For a subset of the
locations, we collected duplicate soil cores from additional locations within the same

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property, and/or composite samples, the latter consisting of multiple 0-5 cm depth
intervals from a coring device that were then combined in the field.
All samples received a code name of RED-xxx, where RED is the study code, and xxx is an
integer corresponding to the sample location and collection order. For purposes of
ensuring the confidentiality of the participants of the study, and protecting their interests
as property owners, all samples will be referred to in this report using these code names,
and no residential locations will be described by street address. We will also decline to
identify distance/direction associated with individual sampled residential locations in
order to prevent reverse engineering of specific addresses. However, non-residential
locations will be identified and described using appropriate information to reasonably affix
their geographic locations.
Laboratory Analyses. We removed the top 5 cm of material by cutting the entire tube and
soil core using an electric reciprocating saw, being careful to recover and weigh the entire
0-5 cm core interval. In selected cores, we performed further sectioning of the soil into 5-
10 cm, and > 10 cm intervals in order to examine Pb depth profiles. The soil intervals were
oven-dried at 105o C for several days to remove moisture; thereafter, material was ground
to ~ 1 mm or smaller particle size using a large porcelain mortar/pestle. The partially
pulverized material was sub-sampled to obtain 15-20 grams of material that was
additionally ground in a small porcelain mortar/pestle to produce particles of < 0.1 mm
approximate diameter; this finely ground material was subsequently used for chemical
analysis.
From the finely ground material, analytical sub-samples of 0.23 0.27 grams were weighed
into 2 mL Pyrex vials with an analytical balance to the nearest 0.0001 grams; the material
was dry-ashed at 450o C for 2-3 hours to remove organic matter; the mineral residues were
transferred quantitatively to 50 mL polypropylene centrifuge tubes. Thereafter, 2.5 mL of
concentrated aqueous nitric acid (70% by mass, approximately 16 moles/liter) and 1.5 mL
of concentrated aqueous hydrofluoric acid (48% by mass, approximately 29 moles/liter)
were added to the residue, and the tubes were capped. The mixtures were heated in a
convection oven at 75-80o C for 16 hours; after opening, de-ionized water was added, along
with 0.93 grams of boric acid, which reacts with and complexes the un-reacted hydrofluoric
acid. The mixtures were diluted to 50 mL total volume, mixed and heated briefly in a
microwave oven to ensure complete dissolution of the boric acid and its reaction with the
hydrofluoric acid. Inspection of the solutions indicated that the dissolution of the soil was
essentially complete; in some cases, < 1 mg of un-dissolved visible residue was apparent.
In our laboratorys experience, this procedure quantitatively dissolves most soils and
quantitatively recovers the elements Sb and Pb from a variety of soil types.
Quality control measures in the dissolutions consisted of the preparation of blanks
(containing the acids and in the same type of container, but no soil), duplicates of selected
samples, and the preparation of a control sample (NIST 1648, Urban Air Particulate) having
established Sb and Pb concentrations.
The elements Sb and Pb were measured using the technique of inductively coupled plasma
mass spectrometry (ICPMS). Sample solutions were further diluted by a factor of 50 (0.2

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mL of the original digest + 9.8 mL of 1% aqueous nitric acid). The diluted samples also
contained 10 g/L of the elements rhodium (Rh) and iridium (Ir) as internal standards.
Matrix-matched calibration standards were prepared that contained varying
concentrations of Sb and Pb while containing the same 10 g/L of Rh and Ir; an
independent calibration verification standard was also prepared that contained Sb and Pb
from stock solutions obtained from different commercial suppliers. Throughout the course
of the analytical run on the ICPMS instrument, one of the calibration standards was re-
analyzed to ensure stability of the calibration curve. A Perkin-Elmer ELAN 9000 ICPMS
instrument, located in the Chemistry Department at MSU Denver, was utilized for these
measurements. The ICPMS procedures are similar to those described by USEPA in Method
6020 for ICPMS analyses of environmental soil, water, sediment and sludge samples.
The technique of flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS) was used to measure lead
in selected samples; this was necessary on account of temporary non-availability of the
ICPMS instrument. The element Sb could not be practicably measured using FAAS,
however. A Thermo flame AAS instrument, also located in the Chemistry Department at
MSU Denver was utilized. In the flame AAS analysis; the 50 mL soil digests are directly
analyzed without additional dilution, and compared vs. a calibration curve prepared from
matrix matched solution standards of 0, 2, 5, 10, and 20 mg/L Pb. A few samples required
dilution to fall within the linear calibration range. For both the ICPMS and FAAS analyses,
the solution concentrations determined were converted into soil concentrations using the
analytical sub-sample masses and appropriate volumetric dilution factors.
All un-sectioned soil cores, the dried/ground processed soils, and all solutions prepared
from the samples, have been archived should additional study or questions arise.
Results. The analysis of blanks yielded limits of detection for the ICPMS measurements
of 0.1 ppm Sb and 2 ppm Pb; using flame AAS, the Pb detection limit was 30 ppm. These
limits of detection were sufficiently low so as to not significantly encumber the
determination of either Sb or Pb in the levels actually found in the unknown soils. The
duplicate analysis of 12 specific samples, conducted using separately
weighed/dissolved/analyzed 0.25 gram soil sub-samples, indicated excellent agreement
among these duplicates, as shown in Table 1.
The results for the determination of Sb and Pb in NIST 1648 (Urban Air Particulate)
generally indicate good agreement between the found vs. referee concentrations. For Sb, a
concentration of 36.6 ppm Sb was found, which reflects ~ 81% recovery vs. the non-
certified concentration of 45 ppm Sb reported by NIST. For Pb, the analysis by flame AAS
reported 6750 ppm Pb, with 5970 ppm Pb being found by the ICPMS technique; these
compare well to the certified Pb concentration of 6550 80 ppm. Accordingly, while small
negative biases may exist in the Sb concentrations, the reference material results generally
indicate that the concentrations of Pb and Sb found in the unknown samples may be
reliably used as a single batch for the interpretations presented herein, and if biases exist,
they are relatively small and likely affect all of the unknown samples to a similar extent.

Complete depth profiles for all soil core intervals (0-5 cm, 5-120 cm, and > 10 cm) were
obtained for a total of 10 soil cores; these results are given in Table 2. The depth profiles

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generally indicate that concentrations of both Sb and Pb decrease with depth; nevertheless,
elevated concentrations of both elements, compared to the Earths crusts concentrations of
~ 0.2-1.0 ppm Sb and 20-50 ppm Pb, are both evident at depths of up to 30 cm. The
elevation at the surface is consistent with a proximal source of atmospherically deposited
contamination, and this surface elevation mirrors what has been found near other
secondary lead smelting sites (Kimbrough et al., 1995; Kimbrough and Suffet, 1996; Amter
and Eckel, 1996; Kimbrough and Cardner, 1999; Eckel et al., 2002; Machemer et al., 2007).
In Table 3, results for Sb and Pb concentrations are shown for all of the study locations. All
of these results refer to the top 5 cm soil interval. Most samples were collected as cores
from a single, randomly selected location within a property; others are surface composites.
For five to ten individual depth intervals of the top 5 cm from different points within the
property of 0-5 cm were obtained with a 5.2 mm diameter steel tube, and these intervals
were combined in the field. Samples are designated in Table 3 as either 30 cm core or
surf comp as appropriate. Residential properties are not identified by address; non-
residential locations are described as to their locations. Note that all samples have Pb
concentrations reported; in some cases, results for Sb are not given, as they were not
determined; these Pb concentrations were measured by flame AAS, owing to the
unavailability of the ICPMS instrument at that time.
Discussion. As previously stated, the first objective was to compare the Pb concentrations
encountered vs. the 650 ppm threshold previously applied in remediation efforts. An
evaluation of the results shown in Table 3 indicates that the overwhelming majority of the
sampled locations exhibited Pb at less than the threshold concentration of 650 ppm. The
average Pb concentration of all samples shown in Table 3 was 394 ppm, with a standard
deviation of 904 ppm. The median concentration was 181 ppm; the 25th, 75th and 90th
percentiles of Pb concentrations were 117, 274, and 654 ppm, respectively. Only 10% of
the samples (n=12) exhibited Pb concentrations exceeding the 650 ppm threshold;
moreover, only nine of these samples were from yards of residences, with the other three
being obtained at non-residential, wooded locations. The nine residential samples include
seven unique properties, with three cores having been obtained from one specific property.
Accordingly, this study has uncovered only seven individual residences which revealed Pb
exceeding 650 ppm; as many residences were collected from within ~ 1 mile of the Exide
location, this Pb trend suggests the absence of a very widespread, pervasive problem with
elevated soil Pb levels. Nevertheless, our findings indicate the need for further study and
possible decisions in favor of remediation, at these few specific residences. It also must be
noted, however, that the great majority of the samples (n = 108, 89%) exhibited > 100 ppm
Pb; these samples all contain some significant levels of anthropogenic lead (likely from a
mixture of Exide and other sources), although their Pb concentrations do not indicate
severe contamination.
We emphasize that most residences were sampled by collection of a single soil core from a
single, specific randomly selected point within the property; this indicates the presence of
at least some degree of anthropogenic lead contamination within the sampled portion of
most locations. The motivation for collecting samples in this manner was to obtain a
snapshot of a large number of residences without creating an enormous sample set of

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many hundreds or thousands of field samples. We caution that the Pb results do not
describe an average result for the sampled property; in fact, large variations in lead
concentrations within a single residential parcel are commonplace in human-impacted
environments. Accordingly, we offer the opinion that additional follow-up sampling is
warranted to investigate the spatial distribution of lead, and more closely compare the
found concentrations vs. the 650 ppm Pb threshold, to ascertain whether contaminated soil
should be removed from the premises, or otherwise abated, to prevent human contact and
exposure. Conversely, even when residences exhibit < 650 ppm Pb, this finding does not
imply that the entire property is clean, and properties with single-point results of < 650
ppm may well contain other specific locations within the property with soil levels
exceeding 650 ppm.
The ratios (Sb/Pb) were evaluated for the samples; this information is best viewed as a
scatter plot of ppm Sb vs. ppm Pb, as shown in the results of Machemer et al. (2007)
depicted in Figure 1. The results of the present Reading study are given in Figures 3a and
3b. Our results bear similarity to those of Machemer et al. (2007); it appears that there is a
general trend of increasing Sb concentrations when Pb concentrations are elevated,
congruent with an Exide source contribution. The Sb elevation is especially pronounced
for the six samples containing > 1000 ppm Pb (Figure 3b). It is noted that these six samples
exhibit Sb concentrations ranging from 33 to 197 ppm Sb. The six samples with Pb > 1000
ppm have Sb/Pb ratios ranging from 0.0197 to 0.0512; these ratios are similar to those
encountered in previous studies of the environs of secondary lead smelters (Kimbrough et
al., 1995; Kimbrough and Suffet, 1996; Amter and Eckel, 1996; Kimbrough and Cardner,
1999; Eckel et al., 2002; Machemer et al., 2007).

While we cannot completely rule out the possibility that other, non-Exide sources of
anthropogenic Sb are contributing Sb inventory to the samples, the gross elevations in Sb
encountered in the high-Pb samples appear to be difficult to explain by sources other than
Exide. A fairly comprehensive discussion of the geochemical baseline Sb concentrations in
the Earths surface environment is given in Reimann et al. (2010). Table 1 of the Reimann
et al. (2010) paper quotes 0.3 ppm as an average concentration of Sb in the upper
continental crust; an average coal concentration of 2 ppm is given therein. This reference
also reports averages and statistics for a large number of other published studies regarding
the Sb concentrations in surface soils; the vast majority of these concentrations are < 1
ppm.
Nevertheless, there is insufficient information from our present studys results to ascertain
the fingerprint of Sb concentrations for soils having elevated Pb arising from sources
besides Exide. We have sampled a cluster of several residences located several km to the
southwest of Exide (refer to Figure 1). A good case in point is Sample Red-107, which
exhibited 596 ppm Pb but only 1.15 ppm Sb. The Sb/Pb ratio herein is only 0.0019, or
about one order of magnitude smaller than encountered from the proximal, > 1000 ppm Pb
sample group (Figure 3b). Had this specific sample contained a significant Exide
contribution (which it apparently does not), one would expect the Sb concentration therein
to be > 10 ppm.

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We find that additional information on soil Sb and Pb concentrations from other areas of
Reading, more distant from Exide, would be desirable to further investigate the
comparative Sb/Pb fingerprints of Exide-affected vs. other anthropogenic Pb-affected soils.
It is plausible to envision a second trend line on Figures 3a and 3b, of much shallower
slope, which reflects the association between Sb and Pb for non-Exide affected (but
elevated Pb) soils in the Reading vicinity.
An additional limitation of this study is that we lack actual samples of emissions (air filters,
air pollution control baghouse dust, fugitive dusts, or other process samples). We believe it
would be appropriate to have these samples, as well as more-distant Reading-area samples,
in order to construct an actual apportionment model based upon Sb/Pb. While this is not
possible at present, we nevertheless find that there is a clear pattern of elevated Sb while
Pb is elevated, indicating that Exide is an important contributor to the Pb inventory in soils
obtained proximal to the facility.

Findings. The main findings of the study are as follows:

The vast majority (n=73, 90%) of the residential soil sampling locations exhibited
lead (Pb) concentrations of less than 650 ppm in the 0-5 cm depth interval. Eight
residences (10% of total sampled) exhibited one or more samples exceeding 650
ppm Pb in the top 5 cm of the soil profile.

Only one residential location exhibited soil Pb concentrations > 1000 ppm Pb in the
top 5 cm of soil.

The range of Pb concentrations encountered generally argues against the presence


of a pervasive Pb contamination issue in residential locations near the Exide facility.

Analysis of the depth profiles of Pb in selected soil cores generally indicates


decreasing Pb concentrations with depth.
Despite the large number of samples, there is limited information available to form a
firm picture of the relationship between Pb concentrations in residential soils vs.
distance from the Exide facility. Many residential locations are highly disturbed,
meaning, human activity and/or natural erosion has affected the integrity of the soil,
which, in many cases, does not reflect the cumulative deposition from Exides ~
eight decades of operation.
Non-residential locations in the un-remediated wooded areas, close to Exide,
exhibited > 1000 ppm Pb. At a control (wooded) location ~ 1.5 miles distant,
concentrations of ~ 150-200 ppm Pb were found. These non-residential data points
represent soils having the greatest probability of being minimally disturbed; their
results generally indicate that there is a general trend with decreasing Exide impact
vs. distance from the facility.
It is likely that many of the residential soil sampling locations are disturbed and do
not contain the entire deposited inventory of anthropogenic lead. The net result of
these processes is that lower Pb concentrations are found than would be otherwise

11
expected. No attempt has yet been made to investigate soil disturbances via
measurements of 137Cs or plutonium as indicators of soil disturbance.
Concentrations of antimony (Sb) were also measured in the soil samples. In a
general way, these indicate significant correlation between Sb and Pb, which is
consistent with a secondary lead smelting contribution from the Exide facility. The
basis for this association is that secondary lead smelting feed contained Sb as an
alloying agent mixed with Pb metals (e.g., battery grids and terminals). Soils
containing > 1000 ppm Pb, obrtained from locations close to Exide, consistently
exhibited elevated Sb, with Sb/Pb ~ 0.02 0.05.
Additional data points from residential locations > 5 miles from Exide, especially
those with older housing and close to vehicle traffic, would be ideally needed to
expand upon this analysis, and to better delineate contributions from Exide vs. other
human-derived lead sources.
Although it is clear that Exide is a contributing, major source to the Pb inventory in
proximal soils, it is difficult to quantitatively model or apportion the Exide-derived
contribution to the soils without better definition of two items: A) the expected
Sb/Pb ratio from Exide emissions; and B) the Sb/Pb ratios characteristic of lead-
contaminated properties from the Reading vicinity, but from more distant locations
(i.e., ~ 5 km or greater distances) unaffected by Exide and influenced solely by non-
Exide sources.
Acknowledgments. The authors would like to sincerely thank Ms. Nicole C. Brambila, for
helping formulate the concepts and objectives for this study, and for drawing in the interest
and support of other staff at the Reading Eagle, and for promoting the study among
members of the local community. We are appreciative of the financial support from the
Reading Eagle Company for the field work, and we thank the MSU Denver Chemistry
Department for support of laboratory expenses. We also thank the many residents who
voluntarily granted access to their properties for purposes of sample collection, and we
thank everyone for their patience in awaiting the results and this final report.

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Figure 3. Bivariate plot of Sb vs. Pb concentrations for the study samples. Figure A
(upper): samples < 1000 ppm Pb; Figure B (lower): all samples including data points >
1000 ppm Pb.

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Literature Cited
Amter, S.; Eckel, W.P. (1996) Comment on off-site forensic determination of airborne
elemental emissions: a case study at two secondary lead smelters. Environmental Science
and Technology 30, 24172418.
Eckel, W.P.; Rabinowitz, M.B.; Foster, G.D. (2002) Investigation of unrecognized former
secondary lead smelting sites: confirmation by historical sources and elemental ratios in
soil. Environmental Pollution 117, 273-279.
Kimbrough, D.E.; Steele, N.; Suffet, I.H. (1995) Off-site forensic determination of airborne
elemental emissions by multi-media analysis: a case study at two secondary lead smelters.
Environmental Science and Technology 29, 22172221.
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Table 1. Results for the duplicate dissolution/analysis of 12 randomly selected samples

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Table 2. Results for depth profiles of Sb and Pb in 10 selected soil cores

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Table 3. Results for soil Sb and Pb concentrations in the study samples.

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Table 3. Results for soil Sb and Pb concentrations in the study samples.

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Table 3. Results for soil Sb and Pb concentrations in the study samples.

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