NEW YORK — Sept. 9, 2015 — After samples showed high levels of lead, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will remove contaminated soil at the Fall Creek Gorge in Ithaca, according to a press release.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the city of Ithaca requested the samples so they could improve public access to the park, noted the release. The contaminated soil is located between the base of a cliff wall and a walkway.

Officials barricaded the affected area and installed signs to prevent the public accessing it, stated the release.

“Lead is a toxic metal that can cause damage to a child’s ability to learn and a range of health damage in adults,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck in the release. “Lead exposure can have serious, long-term health consequences in adults and children. Even at low levels, lead in children can cause I.Q. deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention spans, hyperactivity and other behavioral problems.”

The former Ithaca Gun Company has been associated with lead found in the area, reported the release. The business manufactured firearms and munitions between 1880 and 1986.

The $400,000 project involves the removal of about 200 cubic yards of loose stone and lead-contaminated oil from a quarter of an acre of land, shared the release. The EPA will dispose of the material at a licensed facility, and it will monitor the air during the project to protect workers and the public.

Between 2002 and 2004, the EPA spent $4.8 million to remove more than 6,000 tons of soil and lead-contaminated material from the region, noted the release.

You can find the entire release here.