EPA Outlines Plans For Diaz Chemical Cleanup
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"Some people left the houses and just walked away,” said Jerry Baron.
Jerry Baron has lived in a neighborhood off Jackson Street in Holley since 1943. She says since 2002, it's never been the same.
The former Diaz Chemical plant, just doors down, released a chemical mixture in the area after a safety valve at the facility ruptured.
"It was an awful stink. In fact, one Saturday I went to hang some clothes out and I took them back in the house and put them in the dryer."
Residents, including Baron, say they experience all sorts of health issues they believed to be linked to the spill, and want answers concerning cleanup of the contaminated groundwater and soil from the EPA.
"They just give us the run around."
Since 2005, the EPA says it's been conducting a remedial investigation and taking samples of the groundwater and soil. It says it has spent $10 million to clean up waste left at the site and to take down 60 percent of the buildings.
"The EPA in my conversations with them have stated that there are no dangers. This is the EPA talking,” said John William Kenney Jr., Village Mayor. “Basically, you're not going to change the minds of many of the people. If they have a stance, they are going to stick by it no matter what.
The EPA proposed cleaning up the Superfund site through thermo treatment, a method of using electrodes to heat the soil and water that would cause contaminates to evaporate. The EPA is also proposing a natural process that allows contaminants to decompose over time; something that can take decades.
Monday night, officials introduced the plan to residents.
Michael B: "If they disagree, we have other alternatives in the proposed plan and the public has until September 12th midnight to get their comments to EPA,” said Michael Basile, EPA Public Affairs Officer.
Still, for Baron, the $14.5 million proposed plan might not be enough to restore the neighborhood she remembers moving into.
"I think the whole thing should go, and as I say, it should have never been allowed in the village."