Federal Judge Approves Cabot Koppers Clean-up Plan
Published July 12th, 2013
GAINESVILLE - After 30 years of delays, a federal judge has officially signed off on the consent decree to clean-up contaminated soil, both on and off the Cabot Koppers Superfund site.
The judge's signature clears the way for the remediation plan to begin as soon as next year.
The plan calls for contaminated soil to be stored underneath an impermeable covering at the site. In addition, as many as 90 nearby homes will have up to a foot of top soil removed, which will be replaced with new landscaping.
Members of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association applaud the move. "The EPA has gone as far as they are allowed to go by statue," said Robert Pearce, president of the neighborhood association. "It's time to get going," he said, referencing the decades-worth of site testing and and public discussion that it took to get to this point.
Pearce says while he is not happy that residents were put in this situation, he feels as though the clean-up plan properly addresses the problem, and makes sure that the harmful dioxins do not cause any more damage to the surrounding community.
At a neighborhood association meeting Thursday night, residents stressed the importance of getting all neighbors to comply with with the clean-up, something that may be hard to do.
"There's no point in participating in a cleanup that is just a farce," said Maria Parsons, a resident of the Stephen Foster neighborhood and president of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Protection Group.
Parsons alleges the EPA is involved in a cover-up with Beazer East, the owner of the Superfund site. Parsons says recent test results on indoor and outdoor dust samples were not conducted by a reputable firm, and says she has evidence from another testing firm that the levels of dioxins inside the nearby homes are much higher than the EPA has let on.
Parsons says the only way to truly fix the problem is to relocate the residents to other homes. As a result, she does not intend to participate in this clean-up plan, and instead plans to contact elected representatives in hopes they will assist her.
The clean-up plan is estimated to cost around $50 million, which will be paid for by Beazer East.
The first phase of off-site clean-up is expected to begin in January, with the on-site clean-up taking several more years.
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