North Bottoms Neighborhood and the Former Northwestern Metal Company

In March and April of 2013, a contractor collected soil samples from several residential yards in the North Bottoms neighborhood and on UNL’s City Campus in Lincoln at the request of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ). NDEQ is investigating potential soil contamination related to historic smelter emissions from the former Northwestern Metal Company. Northwestern Metal operated as both a salvage operation and smelter of metal at 900 ‘T’ Street in Lincoln from approximately 1918 to 1961. View a mapof the sampling area.
Because lead may be a by-product of some smelter operations, it is important to determine if soil contamination is present, and to what extent. Exposure to lead can be associated with adverse health effects, especially for children. Learn More about the health effects of lead exposure.
Samples collected from this site were analyzed, and in some areas the lead concentrations found indicated that further investigation was necessary.  
Fact Sheet

In response, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has developed a Fact Sheet with more information about exposure to lead in soil, as well as recommendations to minimize exposure. This information, along with the results of samples, has been shared with homeowners/tenants in the area.
Public Information


An informal public meeting will be held so that residents are able to obtain additional information. The meeting will be at the Welfare Society, Inc. Hall located at 1430 North 10th Street in Lincoln from 6pm – 8pm on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.

A joint news release from both NDEQ and DHHS was issued on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013.


Since only a small number of homes in this area have been sampled for lead, more information needs to be gathered to determine the appropriate response. However, DHHS does have recommendations for residents in the area to avoid exposure to lead which can be found in full in this Fact Sheet. In brief, these include, but are not limited to:
·        Avoiding contact with bare soil areas,
·        Washing hands prior to eating,
·        Removing shoes before entering the home to avoid tracking soil indoors, and,
·       Contacting a physician if concerned about exposure to potential soil contamination. For help finding a physician or accessing a doctor's appointment for your child, please contact the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) at 402-441-8065.
Additional Information
For additional information, please contact one of the individuals listed below:

Sue Dempsey, M.S.                                                    
Risk Assessment/Toxicology
Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
Ben Kittrell, Geologist/Groundwater II
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

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