The Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site is located near the intersection of Northwest 23rd Avenue and North Main Street in the heart of Gainesville, Florida, and covers approximately 170 acres.
A wood treatment plant operated on the Koppers portion of the site from 1912 until 2010. In the first part of the 20th century, creosote was used to treat utility poles and timber. In the final decades of operation, creosote was replaced by chromated copper arsenate (CCA).
Nearly a century of wood treatment activity and illegal dumping are responsible for contaminated ground water and soil. Burning of contaminated waste has resulted in additional contamination.
The Cabot-Koppers acreage was declared a Superfund Site by the US EPA in 1983 and added to the National Priorities List for clean-up in 1984. In 1984 there were just a few dozen sites on the list: Cabot-Koppers became the 37th. Hundreds of sites across the nation have been cleaned up since then, but not Gainesville’s.
In 2003 test results indicated that the Floridan Aquifer, the source of drinking water for 90% of the State of Florida, is being contaminated with toxins from Cabot-Koppers.
The Alachua County Commission sent two letters to President Obama in 2011 asking for his help to expedite the permanent relocation of affected residents and the protection of the municipal water supply.
The multinational, multibillion corporation, Beazer East is responsible for the Koppers clean-up. Beazer East and Koppers are the same entity.
The primary contaminants are dioxins, creosote compounds, benzene, naphthalene, and chromated copper arsenate.
Test results from 2010 and 2011 confirmed extremely high and alarming levels of dioxins in homes within a two mile radius from the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site at an average of 400 to over 1,000 times above US EPA’s own “safe” level standard.
Chloracne, rashes, respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies, shortness of breath, regular headache, frequent bloody noses, diabetes, autism, miscarriages, still births and birth defects including cleft palate, extra limbs, and missing organs are common complaints in Gainesville’s superfund neighborhoods. Cancers of the colon, lungs, kidneys, thyroid, skin, pancreas, liver, prostate, brain, and stomach, to name just a few, are common in these neighborhoods.
Gainesville residents have been protesting, testifying of their families’ illnesses and deaths, and demanding environmental justice and permanent relocation for over fifty years. Residents have retained a team of class action attorneys headed by The Calwell Practice.