Tag Archives: GOOD MORNING AMERICA

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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GAINESVILLE RESIDENTS REJECT FRAUDULENT SOIL TEST RESULTS

19 Jun

We the victims of Koppers Gainesville, one of the Nation’s oldest and most toxic Superfund Sites, outright reject AMEC’s soil sampling due to these facts:

Trees absorb contaminants from adjacent soils, thereby lowering the toxin levels in those soils.  Stephen Foster Neighborhood residents saw employees of AMEC- also known as MACTEC- break soil collection protocol by taking samples from soil immediately next to tree-trunks.  And, in the months prior to soil collection, residents saw new soil added to several properties where soil samples were later collected.

Worse, many residents witnessed AMEC employees diluting soil samples.  They were seen performing the following actions:

1.     Placing clean soil from a potting soil bag into a stainless steel mixing bowl
2.    Collecting a small scraping of soil from a resident’s yard using a trowel
3.     Adding the collected soil to the clean potting soil in the mixing bowl
4.     Very vigorously mixing the two soils
5.    Placing some of the resulting soil mixture into a sample jar
6.    And pouring the remaining soil mixture onto the ground.  Homeowners witnessing this   action called neighborhood representatives and asked them to come out to see for themselves.  The representatives that responded also witnessed these actions.

AMEC employees were seen repeating this process at properties throughout the neighborhood.  Their tampering renders Beazer East’s soil testing inadmissible.   We do not accept Beazer East’s fraudulent test results.  Our families need out of the dioxin, PAH, arsenic contaminated homes that are making us sick.

Willingness to accept counterfeit test results and Beazer East & EPA’s “raw deal” for Gainesville families is inhumane.  Decades of collusion and negligence at every level of government has allowed Gainesville to become a Toxic City.

Susan Fairforest