Soil samples have uncovered battery casing contamination outside three homes in Berks County.
Sitting below puddles of rain and spread through blades of grass, battery casings are littered on the front and side yards of three residential properties in Alsace Township.
"Back in the 1970s, homeowners would use broken down battery parts as fill in their yards. Little did they know, these battery parts have lead in them," said Lisa Kasianowitz, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The DEP was first notified in January 2011 when one of the homeowners tried to sell a home and found the casings in the front yard, said Kasianowitz.
Soil samples were taken eight months ago at the properties on Mount Laurel Road. Tests found the casings contain elevated levels of lead, with some readings seven times the acceptable limit.
"They found some on the surface right next door close to my line, but nothing that is of any consequence I don't think," said Robert Frick, who lives next to where the elevated levels were detected.
Casings were also found along the banks of the unnamed tributary to Laurel Run, which cuts through the three properties, but the tributary has not been contaminated, said Kasianowitz.
According to the DEP, lead is most harmful to children because it can be ingested or inhaled. Luckily, officials said children do not live at the three addresses. Still, officials said the casings pose a threat and they want to remove them.
The DEP has proposed a $500,000 plan to excavate and remove the battery casings and the contaminated soil and re-plant grass in the affected areas.
"As long as the homeowner doesn't have to pay for it, I think it's OK, said Anna Kaucher, who lives just up the street from the three homes.
"I don't know why they want to clean it up because it hasn't affected anybody or anything," said Frick.
The DEP's proposal has created differing opinions, and everyone will have the chance to have their voices heard Tuesday night.
State environmental officials will meet with the public at 7 p.m. at the Alsace Township municipal building.