Following the release of a North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services report on January 19 regarding health effects caused by contamination at former CTS electroplating facility in Asheville, Congressman Heath Shuler attended a meeting on Thursday with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), North Carolina Division of Public Health, Buncombe County Department of Health, and Clean Water for North Carolina, as well as local residents.
Shuler continues to advocate for a complete remediation of this site, but has made the testing of private wells in the area his top priority and asked EPA in 2008 to begin conducting regular assessments of residential wells to make sure contamination does not spread. “For several years, I have insisted that EPA conduct periodic testing of wells in the area,” said Congressman Shuler (D-Waynesville). “The testing system that was developed in response to my request has functioned well, and EPA assured me in our meeting that it will continue periodic well testing indefinitely. We need to make sure that the water local families are consuming is safe today and in the future. I will work to make sure that testing is done adequately and members of this community have safe drinking water.”
Despite numerous complaints of irregular health problems by residents living near the former CTS site, and evidence of dangerously high levels of trichloroethylene, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services report asserted that health concerns are minimal. “The idea that such rampant exposure to trichloroethylene would not cause damage is illogical,” said Shuler. “I remain hopeful that the CTS site will qualify for EPA’s National Priority List (NPL) so that remediation processes can begin. In the meantime, the State of North Carolina must press the CTS Corporation to continue assessment and begin remediation, and EPA must continue to ensure that residents of this area have safe drinking water.”
Background (from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services report):
The CTS Site is located east of Asheville in Skyland. From 1952 to 1986, the CTS Corporation manufactured electronic components on the site. The original 54-acre CTS property was sold and redeveloped, leaving a fenced 9-acre site where manufacturing had occurred. The area currently surrounding the 9-acre site is a mix of residential and industrial properties. In July 1999, the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) was found in a drinking water well near the site. At that time residences in the area were given bottled water and then connected to municipal drinking water. Currently the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are conducting investigative and cleanup activities at the site and are actively monitoring contaminant levels in the surrounding area.
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