The Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging Joplin to apply for a cooperative agreement to respond to lead exposure caused by the May 22nd tornado. EPA spokesman Chris Whitley says Joplin needs to test its soil for lead now that debris has been driven into the soil. He says the cooperative agreement would help Joplin find out how bad it is, and then help pay to fix it.

Whitely says the city of Joplin has been working extensively with the EPA through recovery after the storm. He says if and when the EPA gets an application from Joplin for this, it will move quickly from there.

The city of Joplin has submitted a letter to the EPA and Department of Natural Resources about a month ago saying that lead has been found in 19 of 43 properties damaged by the tornado.

Darrin Wright at affiliate KZRG has contributed to this report.