Research Opportunities

Mapping Lead Hazards and Assessing Potential Environmental Hazards for Vacant Properties in Rochester’s Sector 10

Above: Preliminary lead risk map, created by Karen Taylor (BS 2004). This map shows parcels with older rental units having low assessed values, parameters identified by the earlier studies as being highly correlated with lead poisoning.

Using Federal Census and County and City Parcel data, lead risk models are being developed to help identify areas where individuals, particularly children, are most at risk to lead poisoning. areas This Geographic Information Systems-based models are being refined by geocoding addresses of individuals known to have elevated blood lead levels (greater than 10 g/dL) to help determine important parameters and to look for clustered hotspots. Students are also conducting Phase-one site assessments to identify potential environmental hazards for the many vacant parcels within the area. RIT has been involved with community groups such as the NorthEast Neighborhood Alliance (NENA) to help them further their organic urban gardens project, which utilizes vacant plots if the soils are deemed safe or can be easily remediated. This project is a collaboration between the faculty and students from Environmental Science, the Science, Technology and Society program and the Department of Public Policy in the College of Liberal Arts, and the Environmental Management program in the College of Applied Science and Technology.

Above: Vacant areas and identified Brownfields (areas of known environmental contamination) within Sector 10. Students performed physical site assessments for visual contamination and archival research to uncover land use history for specific parcels, including known spills, potentially hazardous uses (such as dry cleaning facilities or gas stations) and proximity analyses to other known environmental hazards, such as Superfund sites, as part of the Phase-one Environmental Assessments.

Professor: Dr. Karl F. Korfmacher

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