The government shutdown has suspended federal cleanups at Superfund sites around the nation. The Associated Press reports this includes Birmingham's north side. The mostly African-American community has been forced to cope with high levels of arsenic, lead and other contaminants in the soil that the Environmental Protection Agency has been scraping up and carting away, house by house. The Federal shutdown has also forced the cancellation of public hearings, deepening the mistrust and resentment of surrounding residents who feel people in power long ago abandoned them to live among the toxic residue of the country's factories and mines. At the EPA, the shutdown has furloughed the bulk of the agency's roughly 14,000 employees. It also means the EPA isn't getting most of the daily stream of environmental questions and tips from the public. Routine inspections aren't happening. State, local and private emails to EPA officials often get automated messages back promising a response when the shutdown ends.