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Gainesville residents address concerns of Cabot-Koppers cleanup

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Gainesville residents shared their concerns during a meeting Wednesday regarding the cleanup of the Cabot-Koppers site.

The 49-acre area, located off Northwest 23rd Avenue, has a history of wood treatment and pine tar and oil production. Some of the byproducts from that industrial process breached containment and contaminated the ground and aquifer underneath.

The meeting was organized by the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency so they could gather feedback from the public on the consent decree, which is a legal agreement binding property owner Beazer East Inc. to the cleanup of the area.

Michael Cadigan reported for WUFT-TV.

Scott Miller, the EPA’s remedial project manager, said it was important to hear feedback from the community.

“It is not a common event during the consent decree process to hold a public meeting like this, but we thought it was important because there’s a lot of community involvement here — concern — throughout the process all along,” he said.

Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe hopes the EPA will consider the comments from Wednesday’s meeting for the cleanup.

Some residents wanted cleanup to include the interior of homes. That won’t be part of the decree, however.

“This consent decree does not have all of the remediation that we sought, but at least it is a step forward for the remediation of the site and the most solid development that we’ve seen on this issue since it’s been a problem for Gainesville,” he said.

Miller said the cleanup will cost about $55 million.

“That includes from here going forward,” he said. “That doesn’t include what’s been done today from 1998 to present.”

Miller also added the consent decree ensures Beazer East — not taxpayers — will be responsible for funding the cleanup in its entirety.

If the consent decree is passed, cleanup could begin in late 2013 or early 2014 and could take five years to complete, Miller said.

Samantha Dean wrote this story online.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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