Tag Archives: cabot koppers

City’s Superfund Cost Recovery Another Failure

4 Feb

 Some preliminary work on infrastructure in the Stephen Foster neighborhood. This property is contaminated and did not have topsoil replacement. No precautions were taken during this digging.

Some preliminary work on infrastructure in the Stephen Foster neighborhood. This property is contaminated and did not have topsoil replacement. No precautions were taken during this digging.

The City of Gainesville recently settled with Beazer East for less than half of the city’s original cost-recovery claims regarding the Koppers Superfund site. Out of approximately $1.8M tax-payer money spent, Gainesville now stands to recoup a paltry $674,500. In return, the city agreed to release Beazer East from any and all cost recovery claims related to Koppers contamination. This latest example of the City of Gainesville’s nonexistent business acumen brings to mind the disastrous, money-losing biomass plant negotiations. Once again, the tax-payers are on the hook to pay the rest of the bill for a slick multi-national multi-billion dollar corporation. And, once again, public and environmental health is sacrificed by this City Commission who repeatedly put Beazer East’s bottom line over the welfare of its own citizens. During the meeting, Commissioner Wells remarked that the city had expected Beazer East to have done some of the improvements to the infrastructure in the remediation area as part of the cleanup. So in actuality, the city is using the settlement money to do what Beazer East was supposed to do before paying the cost-recovery claim. Sounds like a total loss for the city’s coffers.

The one shining beacon in last Thursday’s Commission meeting was when Mayor Braddy brought up the alternate consideration of using the settlement money to help relocate contaminated households. This suggestion was immediately discarded by a unanimous vote in favor of spending the settlement money to replace water lines and repave roads in areas of Stephen Foster Neighborhood where some properties had topsoil replacement. When will this idea of relocation be re-visited or developed? Not only does the Commission’s decision have no immediate benefit to the sick and dying residents in the area, it actually adds to their suffering by exposing more contaminated soil during the reconstruction process.

While replacing the infrastructure, city workers are being exposed to more contaminated soil that was not replaced. What kind of employee health plan does the city offer? And how does the city plan to keep toxic soil disturbed by this activity from recontaminating newly remediated properties? Beazer East has already said it won’t be coming back if more contamination surfaces, and now the city has negotiated away any legal recourse it may have had.

There is another less tangible and more sinister side to this “reinvestment” to infrastructure in the offsite remediation zone: it benefits non-resident property investors looking to make a killing when the redevelopment occurs. In fact, plans are already underway for onsite redevelopment at this very moment. No need to update roads and water works when the city (taxpayers) has already done it, and paid for it. Greedy sharks are circling while toxic trespass gets a beautification band-aid.


Wells Fargo and Fannie Mae Hate You and Your Children

23 Sep

WellsFargoLogoAccording to their mission statement, “Wells Fargo’s ongoing respect for human rights reflects our vision and values. This effort is done with the understanding that in some circumstances we may go above and beyond what the law and industry standards require. We are dedicated to corporate social responsibility and strive to uphold human rights in all our business activities.” Seriously? Actions speak louder than words.

Wells-Fargo and HUD profit by using Fannie Mae to put new families into hazardous homes.
Ignoring families’ pleas for assistance out of Koppers Arsenic-Dioxin-PAH contaminated homes knowingly financed by Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo forecloses on the dangerous properties. Wells Fargo then transfers ownership to HUD for the full value, enabling HUD to sell the toxic homes to new families through Fannie Mae.

More Proof that Wells Fargo hates you and your children

514NW31stLn514 NW 31st Lane Gainesville, FL 32609: contamination is fully documented on public record and ongoing lawsuits.

Wells Fargo and FannieMae are preparing to sell the most hazardous property in the Koppers Superfund neighborhood. The unscrupulous actions of these entities will assure that a new and unsuspecting family will move into this highly toxic home, by nondisclosure or through an uncaring property investor who will rent it out with a fresh coat of paint.

Either way, a new round of innocent victims will be exposed to high levels of dioxins and the lethal combination of:

Arsenic, Benzene, DEHP, Dinitrotoluene, Lead, Mercury, Methylnaphthalene, Naphthalene, Pyrene, Acenaphthene, Acenaphthylene, Anthracene, Antimony, BenzoAnthracene, BenzoFluoranthene, BenzoPerylene, BenzoPyrene, BaPEq, Chromium, Dibenzo Anthracene, Ethanol, Ethylbenzene, Fluoranthene, Fluorene, Indeno(1,2,3-cd)Pyrene, 2-3-4 Methylphenol, Pentachlorophenol, Phenanthrene, Phenols, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Biphenyl, Camphor, Carbazole, 2-Chloronaphthalene, Chrysene, Copper, Dibenzofuran, Dimethylphenol, Indene, Nitrosodiphenylamine, Violate Organic Compounds…more chemicals than a meth house!

 One of the homes sold by Fannie Mae without disclosure

3507NW$thSt3507 NW 4th Street Gainesville FL, 32609: contamination is fully documented on public record and ongoing lawsuits.

The previous owner of this toxic home was surprised to receive a late night visitor sent by Corporate America who told her “It’s not personal- it’s about the money. Shut up and get out before you get hurt.”

 Another Wells Fargo Contaminated Property

Roys house 5410 NW 26th Avenue Gainesville FL, 32609: contamination is fully documented for ongoing lawsuits

The owner of this heavily contaminated home, Mr. Roy Geiersbach, frequently testified before City and County officials about Wells Fargo’s nondisclosure. When Mr. Geiersbach received anonymous threats he went to the FBI and the US Department of Justice detailing the threats and a hit and run attempt on his life. He spoke out about his toxic exposure illnesses and loved ones lost to cancers caused by his contaminated property, asking “How many more have to die?”

Another of the properties transferred to Fannie Mae and sold without disclosure is 514 NW 33rd Avenue. The new homeowners found out about the home’s contamination only after moving in. This family left their toxic home within weeks of the discovery. The previous residents moved after two family members were diagnosed with cancer.

Stumpf PosterWhy has Wells Fargo abandoned their stated visions and values?
Wells Fargo needs to honor their mission statement and put their money where their mouth is.

Continue reading

Beazer East to Gainesville Residents: So Long Suckers

4 Sep

Unhappy homeowners in Superfund Neighborhoods across the US that received topsoil replacement report that they have had to spend thousands of dollars replacing the cheap materials hastily laid in their yards and repairing damage to their homes caused by corporate polluter contractors. EPA staff stopped returning homeowners phone calls and emails for assistance after topsoil replacement was finished.

“We’re not coming back.”
Last year, Beazer East executive Mitchell Brourman told Gainesville’s City Commission that BE will not remediate any remaining/recurring Koppers contamination after the current topsoil replacement is completed. According to Mr. Brourman they’re done even if soil replacement fails. Any problems, from recontamination to property damage caused by Beazer East contractors, will be left to homeowners to deal with at their own expense. Stephen Foster residents with replaced topsoil are already reporting that Beazer East contractors and EPA staff are not responding to them when contacted regarding problems caused by their “cleanup”.

 1DirtPileOnSiteClean soil for families’ lawns sits surrounded by toxic storm water on Koppers Superfund Site.


2TrailFromKoppersContaminated storm water runoff leaves visible trails from Koppers Superfund Site into Stephen Foster Neighborhood.


3WesternBorderTrail Looking into SFN from Koppers Superfund western border.


4AnotherSFNTrail Toxic runoff into another SFN street with lawns that have newly replaced topsoil.


5AnotherSFNTrail2 Another street where Koppers contaminated storm water washes down the avenue into newly cleaned yards.


6RemediatedYardFlooded Newly remediated yard flooded by toxic superfund water.


Is Gainesville the Next Love Canal?

13 Aug

Beazer East says they have finished their “cleanup” of Stephen Foster Neighborhood, but a newly updated Center for Public Integrity report shows that Gainesville’s Koppers Superfund Site is still one of the 114 most dangerous Superfund Sites in the nation. Despite EPA claims, human exposure and contaminated groundwater migration continue in communities surrounding Koppers, as they do in communities like Escambia FL, Libby MT, Love Canal NY, and other Superfund neighborhoods that received similar topsoil replacement- these “cleanups” do not work and are not protective of residents’ health in the short or the long-term.

KOPGVL114 Most Dangerous Superfund Sites

Beazer East hired Sevenson Environmental Services to handle the contaminated soil removal in Stephen Foster Neighborhood in Gainesville. Love Canal families who moved in after the EPA told them it was safe and clean are now suing Sevenson, the city of Niagara Falls, the Niagara Falls Water Board, and Occidental Chemical Corp for negligence in the original cleanup more than 30 years ago.


 Koppers water migration

Among the deluge of resident complaints are reports of Sevenson workers leaving contaminated topsoil around trees and house foundations in Stephen Foster Neighborhood, creating massive islands of toxic soil in the new topsoil. The pooled water in the photo above is one example of contaminated groundwater that migrated directly from Koppers Superfund Site into the newly dug, “clean” area.

SFN Toxic Soil Foundations              SFN Toxic Soil Islands

Hazardous Residential Yard Waste   Hazmat Tag









Hazardous Residential Waste- WCA (City of Gainesville trash pickup) could not collect residential yard waste across from 514 NW 31st Lane: because it is hazardous waste, they tagged it for Hazmat handling. Months earlier, Beazer East had announced that this block was completely cleaned up!



6 Jul

Koppers Plain Talk explores the science of Gainesville’s Superfund Site, shedding light on the health effects of its toxins.

EPA’s 2009 chart documenting the health effects of Koppers contaminants of concern is particularly informative- and alarming. To view this document, go to koppersplaintalk.com, choose The Science tab and scroll to the bottom. Check out the rest of this educational site.

Will Residents Lose Their Rights With Neighborhood Topsoil Removal Plan?

16 Feb

On February 6, 2014 Maria Parsons told the City Commission about Stephen Foster Neighborhood residents’ concerns that by agreeing to participate in Beazer East, Inc/EPA’s topsoil replacement plan- at any time before, during, and/or after the soil replacement process- they are signing away their rights to take any possible future legal action that may be needed involving the polluter or any other responsible party for ongoing contamination and toxic exposure from Koppers chemicals.

Mrs. Parsons asked the Commission to confirm or deny these concerns in writing, and to provide a copy of all agreement forms, contracts, releases and/or waivers that residents must sign in order to participate in the soil replacement plan.  The Commission directed Mr. Murry to obtain and forward the requested information and documents to her.  Mrs. Parsons has not heard from Mr. Murry yet. Farinda O’Steen asked the city for this information several months ago and is still waiting for their response, as are other concerned residents.

Residents also need to know whether deed restrictions will be placed on their properties and exactly what that entails.

Homeowners in and near the contantly-changing topsoil replacement zone would be wise to have any documents they receive pertaining to Beazer East Inc/EPA’s plan reviewed by an attorney before signing them.

National Institute of Health (NIH): Dioxin exposure causes transgenerational health effects

27 Sep

In a WSU press release, Skinner said of his latest findings, “It is not just the individuals exposed, but potentially the great-grandchildren that may experience increased adult-onset disease susceptibility.”

By Brant Hamel

A new study, funded in part by NIEHS, found that dioxin affects not only the health of an exposed rat, but also unexposed descendants through a mechanism of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance.

The study was conducted in the laboratory of Michael Skinner, Ph.D., a professor in the Center for Reproductive Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Washington State University (WSU) who designed the study. Co-authors included assistant research professor Mohan Manikkam, Ph.D., research technician Rebecca Tracey, and postdoctoral researcher Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna, Ph.D.

“Although not designed for risk assessment, these results have implications for the human populations that are exposed to dioxin and are experiencing declines in fertility and increases in adult onset disease, with a potential to transmit them to later generations,” the authors concluded.

Dangers of dioxin last for decades after initial exposure

Dioxin, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo[p]dioxin (TCDD), is a chemical compound that constitutes part of the Agent Orange herbicide used as a defoliant in the Vietnam War. According to research cited in the study, exposure is estimated to have caused 400,000 deaths and 500,000 birth defects. Dioxin has also been released from industrial accidents, leading to human exposures. Due to its extremely long half-life of up to 10 years in humans, dioxin may still affect pregnancies occurring even 20 years after exposure.

In the Skinner group’s experiments, exposure to dioxin caused changes in the DNA methylation patterns of sperm that were transmitted across generations, in an imprinted-like manner, to affect the health of multiple generations of descendents. The grandchildren of exposed rats showed dioxin-induced effects ranging from polycystic ovarian disease to kidney disease. The work raises the serious concern that even if toxic chemicals, such as dioxin, were completely removed from the environment, they could continue to cause disease for multiple generations.

Health effects of dioxin include early onset of puberty in females

Skinner’s group used low in vivo doses of dioxin, so that toxic effects were not expected. Female rats were exposed while pregnant, and both their direct progeny and descendants two generations removed were examined.

Although the most prominent phenotypes were kidney disease in males and polycystic ovarian disease in females, a number of other effects including abscesses, colon impaction, lung abnormalities, and missing testes were also observed in animals from the dioxin-treated lineage. Additionally, females from the dioxin-exposed lineage experienced the early onset of puberty. Conversely, males showed delayed puberty, suggesting sex-specific effects of exposure. Early puberty in humans has increased over recent decades and is believed to have an environmental link.

Dioxin alters methylation patterns in germ line DNA across generations

The researchers were able to identify 50 specific regions of DNA that were differentially methylated in the dioxin-treated animals. These regions were permanently reprogrammed and protected from DNA methylation, in a manner that allowed them to be passed down across generations. In the future, these regions may serve as biomarkers that would allow early detection of exposure and risk for disease.

Other chemical compounds, including bisphenol A, phthalates, the insecticide DEET, and the jet fuel JP8 have all been shown to promote disease across generations, through a similar mechanism of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance (see story). This pathway of disease propagation exists not only in rats, but also in humans, mice, worms, flies, and even plants. Thus, future research will be needed to see if other environmental compounds may also lead to health effects across generations.

In addition to NIEHS, NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense provided support for the study.

Citation: Manikkam M, Tracey R, Guerrero-Bosagna C, Skinner MK. 2012. Dioxin (TCDD) induces epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease and sperm epimutations. PLoS One 7(9):e46249.

(Brant Hamel, Ph.D., is an Intramural Research Training Award fellow in the NIEHS Laboratory of Signal Transduction.)


Alachua County Commission Votes to Ask Beazer East to Relocate Residents Out of Toxic Homes- Story and Video Coming Soon!!

19 Sep