‘Safety guides our decision’: City, EPA give update on Applegate Lane home

During the press conference on Wednesday, Greenberg announced that the city agreed to allow the EPA to proceed with a controlled demolition of the home.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:00 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg announced the city’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended plan for the Applegate Lane home on Wednesday.

Greenberg said the safety of first responders, neighbors and the entire city is their top priority. The mayor also said they would not progress until all options had been explored.

A week after the community meeting held on Aug. 7, the EPA joined the scene and found mercury at 6211 Applegate Lane. In the last week of August, crews finished clearing the mercury from the home.

For 6213 Applegate Lane, Greenberg said there is a new primary strategy. Previously, the plan was to potentially burn the home down.

“A planned, monitored and controlled burn of the home and the detached garage was the only safe way to dispose of the contents,” Greenberg said.

During the press conference on Wednesday, Greenberg announced that the city agreed to allow the EPA to proceed with a controlled demolition of the home, pending approval of the plan.

The EPA, who is working with Louisville Metro EMS and KYEPA, plans to use a “mechanical approach” to the demolition, involving the removal of debris in small scoops. Officials said there would be a 17-foot perimeter wall of shipping containers and the EPA would remove portions of the home in small scoops using excavators. Removed material will be placed in a large steel container and then disposed of.

Jazmin Perez lives across the street from the house. Perez and her family have had to look at the fenced-in property and the piles of garbage and collection of chemicals.

On Wednesday, they repaved their driveway, which is something they haven’t been able to do since this all happened.

“And we just had to keep delaying it because, ‘hey our roads closed, can’t let you through,’” Perez said. “That was kind of annoying. We can’t get anything done around our house. Because they’re here.”

She’s happy the end might be near.

“We just never knew what it was going to be like,” Perez said. “Coming home, it was always a surprise. Am I going to be able to get there? Is there going to be an officer asking me 20 questions just to get to my house?”

The mayor said they would like to begin in October, and work could take less than a month depending on final contractor schedules, weather, etc.

Officials said security will be on site all hours of every day until the work is complete.

This kind of plan is relatively unheard of.

“Due to the circumstances, throughout the United States we can only find this is a situation that’s happened eight times from some of the subject-matter experts that have talked about it,” Jody Meiman of Emergency Services said.

Evacuations would be needed in case of emergency. Greenberg talked with some of the immediate neighbors with unique circumstances who would not be able to evacuate quickly and found that the city may need to evacuate them.

For updates, click or tap here and check the banner at the top of the page.