Western lead products

site background

The Western Lead, or Avanti, site is located at 502-566 South Harris Street, Indianapolis, IN. The site covers approximately 17-acres and is bounded on the north by Victoria Street, on the east by Harris Street, on the south by railroad tracks, and on the west by Eagle Creek. The site is located in a predominantly residential area. 

Since the mid-1930s, industrial operations at the site have included a battery recycling operation, a lead smelter, and a lead oxide facility.. The site was heavily contaminated with lead and battery casings that were discarded on the property. Onsite activities resulted in deposit of lead-contaminated dust in nearby residential yards to the east and northeast of the site.

The site was investigated in the early 1990s due to numerous complaints of air-borne lead dust and the discovery of lead contamination in neighboring residential wells. Investigations documented the presence of lead in the soil both on-site and in nearby residential yards. In April of 1993, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and Marion County Health Department conducted surface soil sampling for heavy metals at the site and detected lead concentrations as high as 180,000 parts per million (ppm).

Between 1994 and 1999, EPA provided oversight of an emergency removal of lead-contaminated soils from nearby residential properties (Phase I) and removal and consolidation of contaminated soils on the industrial site property (Phase II). Phase I included removal of contaminated soil from 288 residences, re-vegetation, and the extension of city water mains to homes using private drinking water wells. Phase II included removal or consolidation of contaminated soil and debris, decontamination of existing buildings, fencing, and re-vegetation. Both Phases were completed in 1999.

In August of 2010, IDEM, under a cooperative agreement with EPA, conducted a reassessment of the site to determine if it warranted further investigation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). IDEM ultimately concluded that it did not, as the site no longer presented “significant potential for harm to human health or the environment through the ground water, surface water, or soil exposure pathways.”




City of Indianapolis, Environment, Parks & Recreation Workgroup, Near West Neighborhood Use Plan (Draft) (2013).

RSR Corp. v. Avanti Development, Inc., 69 F. Supp. 2d 1119 (S.D. Ind. 1999).