Thursday, August 1, 2013

Neighbors Unhappy with Superfund Cleanup

By: Nathan Lamb

A plan to corral contaminants at an old wood treatment plant has been approved by federal regulators, but the solution is unpopular with neighbors, according to this story from the Gainesville Sun.

The Koppers wood treatment plant operated from 1919 to 2009, but soil and groundwater contamination at the 90-acre site landed the Gainesville business on the federal Superfund cleanup list in 1984. The contaminants include the carcinogen dioxin, which has been found in soil at the site and neighboring properties.

According to the EPA, the contamination stemmed from waste handling practices at the wood plant.

Recently approved by a federal judge, the cleanup plan calls for excavating the contaminated soil from at least 66 neighboring properties and putting it into a sealed underground containment area at the old wood plant at the 200 block of Northwest 23rd Avenue.

Unhappy about the plan to consolidate the contaminants at the old wood plant, the community submitted roughly 80 pages of comments on the issue, suggesting everything from relocation of the neighbors to concerns the disposal site could eventually leak into a nearby aquifer.

Officials charged with reviewing the plan say there's "little risk" to the aquifer from the sealed disposal site, adding the containment measures will be sufficient to protect public health.

Gainesville is approximately 110 miles northwest of Orlando and has a population of roughly 125,000 people.

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