In the ongoing ground-water contamination case connected to the former CTS electroplating plant on Mills Gap Road in south Asheville, emails between the EPA and residents imply that agency action to get new water service was being considered last July. But municipal water hookups remain far from certain.
A North Carolina House Select Committee has issued subpoenas to compel key EPA officials, including Superfund Branch Chief Don Rigger, to testify in a hearing in Raleigh next month, even as Mills Gap Road-area residents file a formal complaint of criminal negligence against the agency in the case of the former CTS of Asheville, and another Mills Gap home receives an emergency supply of bottled water from the EPA. Photo by Susan Andrew.
At a kitchen table in the Mills Gap community in South Asheville last night, neighbors of the former CTS of Asheville plant met to plan next steps, after two new domestic wells nearby recently tested positive for industrial contaminants including cyanide. CTS has signed an agreement with EPA to provide filtration to all homes within a one-mile radius of the recently demolished plant; but neighbors say they were anticipating municipal water hookups.
The EPA has rejected a plan submitted by CTS to investigate the current extent of contamination at its former plant site on Mills Gap Road. The site is presently awaiting final approval to EPA's National Priorities List, a move expected to place it alongside the other "Superfund" sites, the most contaminated sites on EPA's national docket. Photo by Katie Damien.
In this edition of the Mountain Xpress' local news podcast, Green Scene reporter Susan Andrew discusses the most recent developments at the former site of the CTS plant, including Buncombe County's decision to postpone demolishing the existing structure and the EPA's $6.5 million bill for cost incurred thus far.
EPA seeks action, demands CTS and current owners cover costs on proposed Superfund site in Mills Gap
In a letter dated September 13, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency has demanded payment of $6.5 million dollars to cover costs already incurred in its efforts to deal with contaminated ground water and soils near the former CTS of Asheville plant, located on Mills Gap Road in South Asheville. Meanwhile, Buncombe County Commissioners have postponed until November 1 their consideration of a decision to demolish the derelict building at taxpayer expense. Photo: Officials from EPA's Superfund Branch stand at the gate to the CTS property during a recent sampling trip. Photo by Susan Andrew.
In an Oct. 6 letter to the Buncombe County Clerk, CTS property owner Mills Gap Road Associates appealed the county's recent order that the building be demolished, saying that it would continue to cooperate with EPA. That agency is moving to place the property on the National Priorities List, a.k.a. Superfund, which would rank the Mills Gap site among the most contaminated properties in the nation.
In this edition of the Mountain Xpress' local news podcast: Jake Frankel on the most recent Buncombe County Commission meeting; Susan Andrew with the latest on the CTS cleanup; Tracy Rose on the Women In Business supplement and David Forbes on the Asheville City Council meeting about downtown food trucks.
Larry Rice stands at the fence surrounding the spring that once provided his family's drinking water. Contamination of the spring by hazardous chemicals, presumably from the former CTS of Asheville property immediately uphill, led to the area being fenced off by the state. EPA staff are hosting a "public availability session" regarding the site this evening at the Skyland Fire Department.
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