New Test Results Show Contamination at Koppers
By Robert Bradfield
There is new information on a story TV 20 News has been covering for years. New results from soil samples from the Koppers Superfund site are prompting Alachua County leaders to warn those living in the area not to let their children play in an area that buffers the site. Some residents living near it say it's an eye sore and a health risk.
20 homes were hand delivered notices Friday warning them of the high levels of arsenic and dioxins in the soil on and around the site. According to the Alachua County Health Department, test results do not indicate an immediate health hazard. However, one homeowner isn't not buying it.
"If I had the money I would be out of here tomorrow I"ll tell you that right now," claims resident Rick Keebler. He owns a house on northwest 29th avenue. It sits on a four block boundary the county has deemed unsafe for children. The danger, contaminated soil from the nearby Koppers Superfund site.
"The Health Department wants to recommend that children stay, if parents can keep children from playing in this area," says director Anthony Dennis. The stretch of area lies between northwest 26th and northwest 30th avenues. New soil samples taken from the site show sand and dirt at levels that exceed state and national standards. Keebler explains, "If I have had known this was in the area, I would have never have came."
Even though the levels of arsenic and dioxins decrease as you get farther from the main site, the numbers do warrant attention. For example, residential standards for arsenic should be around two point one parts per billion. One area tested reached almost 16 parts per billion. Dioxin levels should reach seven parts per billion according to state restrictions, but one sample tested slightly higher than 1300.
These findings were forwarded to the Alachua County Health Department and Dennis says this testing is just the beginning. "More soil testing needs to be done to future delineate this area of contamination and when the health department gets those results they will do the risk assessment based on the findings." The Alachua County Health Department says it will continue to work with Alachua County and the city of Gainesville to inform citizens about health risks associated with this issue. The three agencies are working to schedule a public meeting in the near future.
Another area of concern for residents is the water supply. Dennis says three properties with wells that lie within the Kopper site have been tested for more than 20 years and no contamination was found in the water.
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