On Thursday, April 14, Environmental Protection Agency officials hosted another in a long series of community meetings about the contaminated CTS site in south Asheville. Just a few weeks ago, the EPA had announced that the vacant Mills Gap Road property was being proposed for the National Priorities List (aka the Superfund program). But with a final decision not coming till September, the EPA convened the April 14 meeting to report what resources are available to local residents. Photo by Katie Damien.
Photo by Jonathan Welch Residents who live near the contaminated former CTS facility on Mills Gap Road have waited for years for cleanup, and as the time draws closer for EPA’s review of the site for inclusion on the National Priorities List (which would place it among the most severely contaminated sites in the U.S.), residents have decided to wait no longer. A group of 16 individuals and families filed suit against the Elkhart, Ind.-based corporation yesterday in federal court. Complainants include Tate MacQueen, spokesperson with the advocacy group Citizen’s Monitoring Council, which has worked to get the issue noticed and addressed, and Lee Ann Smith, whose young sons were treated for cancer after they were exposed to high levels of contaminants in a stream flowing from the CTS property near their home.
The CTS/Mills Gap Road property just moved one step closer to being named a Superfund site: Today, Sept. 1, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it’s “moving forward” with the process to add the former electroplating plant to its National Priorities List of hazardous-waste sites.
Officials declared that the CTS-contamination study had found no new imminent threats, only to be met by poignant responses from area residents, some of whom have had their wells capped, others who have health problems that they perceive to be related to the contamination, and many of whom are raising children. Residents pointed to such daily realities, to which the study's author responded, "We work with the information we have. That's reality."
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