Tag Archives: environmental justice

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.

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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.

Sevenson

 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!

 

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Environmental Injustice: The Unfolding Tale of Two Florida Superfund Sites

13 Apr

ej comparison

New Public Health Failure at Love Canal Decades after EPA Remediation

13 Jan

After 35 years, a new generation of Love Canal residents claims illnesses from buried chemicals

Current residents of the redeveloped Love Canal neighborhood say that capping, an impermeable layer and clean topsoil failed to protect their families from toxic exposure and resulting catastrophic illnesses, prompting a new lawsuit against Occidental Chemical, its remediation contractors, the City of Niagara Falls, and the Niagara Falls Water Board:

http://www.lovecanaltoxicexposure.com/files/WPost-AP_11-3-13.pdf

Gainesville Commissioner Chase says of Stephen Foster Neighborhood, “In a million years, I wouldn’t live there with my kids.”

7 Oct

Resident Sharon Sheets wants relocation: “Half my life in contamination

Resident Farinda O’Steen: “I’m up to 20 in my family that have died over that (Koppers) plant and I want out of the neighborhood

Resident Alice Alonso wants to know why Beazer East/Koppers executives like Mitchell Brourman haven’t been jailed.  Mayor Braddy agrees that Mrs. Alonso would be arrested for terrorism if she purchased their deadly chemical cocktail that’s killing her family and neighbors.

Industry Expert Bob Burton tells Commission, “We have a very serious problem here that one foot of soil is not going to cure

Gainesville Commissioner Hinson-Rawls wants residents made whole: “Just purchase the homes

We’re not coming back.” Beazer East executive Mitchell Brourman says they’re done in Stephen Foster Neighborhood after twelve inch soil removal even if it fails.

Gainesville Commissioner Chase says of Stephen Foster Neighborhood, “In a million years, I wouldn’t live there with my kids.

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

19 Sep

Beazer East & EPA: Keeping Gainesville Toxic with a Little Help from AMEC

19 Jun

The United States has recovered more than 19 million from AMEC in damages and penalties to settle litigation regarding fraud, false claims and kickbacks on Federal contracts in Sacramento, San Francisco, St. Louis and New Jersey.

At the World Trade Center, AMEC destroyed very important evidence during the clean-up.  This and the tampering witnessed by many residents in our neighborhood render AMEC’s soils test results false and unacceptable and Un-American.  Why are we entrusting the health and the lives of Gainesville’s children to AMEC?

The “Raw Deal” as acknowledged by this Commission earlier this year really gives us a toxic waste dump.  Dumping additional toxic residential soil on top of the already contaminated superfund site allows creosote, and other Koppers chemicals to continue to contaminate our drinking water, the Floridan Aquifer.

Removing one foot of polluted soil and entombing residents in toxic homes does nothing to protect families.  Officials already know that in some homes two to four feet and even twenty to forty feet of toxic soil have already been replaced with clean soil, only to find out later that the replacement soil is just as contaminated as the original soil.

According to Beazer East employee Mitch Brourman, this clean-up is “the best clean-up ever in the nation”.  No, EPA and Beazer East, this is NOT “the best clean-up ever” and it is NOT protective of Gainesville residents and our city.  This is nothing more than a criminal cover-up that is Keeping Gainesville Toxic.  We need and want out of our toxic homes!

Residents want to thank Todd Chase: he is the only City Commissioner that fully understood the implications of accepting this cover-up/raw deal.  We are grateful to him for voting against it.  This Raw Deal will forever stamp Gainesville with the stigma of Toxic City.

Ron Hodill