A Century of Lead Rain: Omaha's Industrial Legacy

Along a sweeping curve of the Missouri River, Omaha’s revitalized riverfront hosts green parks, paved public spaces, and a graceful walking bridge. However, only twenty-five years ago this area was a hive of lead-based smelting and refining – with smoke stacks belching lead laced emissions into the clear blue prairie sky, and waste water carrying pollutants into the Missouri River. The airborne particulates settled onto the residential yards of Eastern Omaha, which led to Omaha becoming one of the largest Superfund clean-up sites in the country.

This walking guide will give you a brief overview of the industry, the effects on children, the clean-up process, and the future plans for some of the most heavily polluted land in the area – a children’s playground.

Omaha's Big 8

But around thirty years ago, the Riverfront downtown was home to one of the nation's biggest polluters. On a dreary day, the sky is obscured and dark- but still nowhere close to the view of the Omaha side of the river when the American Smelting and…

"Don't Eat Lead!"

Near the middle of Omaha’s twenty-seven square mile Lead Superfund Site, at 3416 Cass St. is the Gifford Park Community Garden. Local residents of this seventy percent rental community of older, mostly single-family homes in midtown, started the…