Lead removal costing millions

Mitigating problem a slow process since 1978 ban

NASHUA – As a city with plenty of buildings predating 1978 – the year in which the federal government banned the use of lead-based paint – Nashua officials continue working to mitigate the problem.

Nashua Director of Community Development Sarah Marchant said the city has closed out on a $3.4 million federal grant received in 2014. City leaders removed lead-based paint from 204 housing units via this sum.

Last year, Nashua received another $2.9 million grant to continue the progress.

“With this new grant, we have completed 40 units already, and we have 13 almost done and several more in the pipeline,” Marchant said.

With this new grant, officials’ goal is to mitigate 135 additional housing units, which will need to be done by November 2020.

Marchant said this money is specifically going toward occupied units of low-income households. Additionally, they partner other funds to address other health hazards while they are already in those units.

“The city’s job is, we have somebody do a complete assessment of the unit for hazards,” Marchant said. “Then, we put the work out to bid to let certified contractors bid, and they would complete the remediation work. The money goes directly to contractors in the community working in the community to do the remediation work.”

Some health hazards associated with lead poisoning include:

 developmental delay,

 learning difficulties,

 loss of appetite,

 fatigue,

 seizures,

 fertility problems,

 premature birth,

 abdominal pain, and

 memory problems.

As in the rest of New England, Nashua has a high rate of lead paint in its housing stock because of how old the area is. Marchant said the city is always looking for referrals.

“If anyone knows of property of a unit occupied by someone with lower income that may have concerns about lead or has kids especially, we would love to talk to them about the program,” Marchant said.

More information on the Lead Paint & Healthy Homes Program can be found online at, www.nashuanh.gov/317/Lead-Paint-Healthy-Homes-Program.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.