WUFT News

Stephen Foster Resident Speaks Out Against the Remediation Plan

By on November 5th, 2013
A few of the more vocal residents of the Stephen Foster neighborhood have posted signs in response to the Superfund site pollution.

Erikka Lieberman / WUFT News

A few of the more vocal residents of the Stephen Foster neighborhood have posted signs in response to the Superfund site pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s remediation plan for Alachua County’s Stephen Foster neighborhood has begun.  The EPA created a plan for the neighborhood to cleanup the pollution caused by the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site.

Under the plan, the responsible party and former owner, Beazer East, Inc., will remove the top foot of polluted soil, which contains the carcinogen dioxin. However, some residents are saying the efforts will only make the pollution worse.

Cheryl Nicholson, a Stephen Foster resident, said digging up the soil will move the dioxin into the air and add to the pollution.

Nicholson mentioned that she and her neighbors have been dealing with the site’s pollution for years. She explained some of the unconventional experiences she’s had while living in the neighborhood.

“Five years after moving into this house I got cancer kind of unexpectedly,” Nicholson said. “I’ve seen abnormalities in wildlife — geckos with two tails, geckos with no legs.”

Nicholson explained how her neighbors participate in the cleanup efforts, but that she doesn’t because she has lost faith in the government.

“I’m proud of the people in the neighborhood who’ve tried to stick up for their rights,” she said, “but you can’t fight city hall and you sure can’t fight the federal government.”

John Mousa, the pollution and prevention manager for the Alachua County EPA, said there are about 70 properties around the former Superfund site containing contaminated soils. Beazer East, Inc. will make an individual plan for each home and with the homeowner’s permission, will begin carrying them out this January.

Mousa recognized the plan is not perfect, but believes it’s the best thing for the neighborhood right now.

“We understood the concerns of the community,” he said. “It certainly has been a stressful time for the residents that live next door.”

According to Mousa, it is very important to the EPA to get as many properties as possible to agree to the plan.

“It has raised some anxieties and it’s raised some concerns for some of the residents and we understand those,” he said. “But we feel right now, the best thing to do for that neighborhood is get these soils cleaned.”

Even after considering the benefits of the cleanup plan for the neighborhood, Nicholson said she will not participate in these efforts. Regardless of the dioxin, she said Stephen Foster will always be her home.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Senator Bill Nelson speaks to University of Florida researchers about the threat of rising sea levels on Monday, August 31, 2015.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson Talks to UF Researchers On Rising Sea Threat

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson met with UF researchers to discuss the impact that rising seas will have on North Florida and to look for ways to make the public aware. He questioned whether a natural disaster would have to occur before people grasp the severity of the threat.


A porch swing sits almost submerged along the banks of Hampton Lake in Bradford County on Monday afternoon. Bradford County has experienced 8 inches of rain as of Monday, sending the county into a local state of emergency.

Bradford County Floods After The Ultimate Rain Shower

Bradford County residents are struggling to travel due to rain from tropical system Erika. Sandbags are not helping, and motorists have found themselves stuck in mud holes that seem impossible to escape.


Paynes Prairie State Preserve in Alachua County, Florida.

Thousands Sign Petition Against Profiting From Paynes Prairie

A petition launched by an environmentalist to stop possible cattle grazing and tree growing in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park has more than 10,000 signatures. The environmentalist, Shirley Lasseter, started the petition in response to a proposal by the DEP secretary to allow such for-profit uses to help pay for the parks.


Attendance at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park increased by more than 100,000 visitors in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

State Park Commercialization Plan Contributor Appointed DEP Secretary

State parks were identified by former interim secretary of the DEP Jon Steverson in a draft strategic plan as test cases for allowing commercial businesses to graze cattle, timber and hunt in the parks. Gov. Rick Scott appointed Steverson as DEP secretary today.


Billy McDaniel (left), Tommy Hines (right) catch a gag grouper at Cedar Key, trolling in 50 feet of water.

FWC Surveys Local Fishermen About Gulf Species

The FWC is conducting surveys to discover trends in species of fish being caught in the Gulf of Mexico. Local fishermen agree that monitoring the fish is important, but some question the method of data collection.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments