"The flood water came right up here, to my hips,"
she said, gesturing toward her belt buckle. "My son had to drive through the
water in his pickup truck just to pick me up from the front porch."
Like other neighbors, Reichenbach worried about
contamination from rainwater runoff from the site, designated by the federal
Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund site for immediate cleanup.
"The (Environmental Protection Agency) furnished us
with bottled water until it tested the well and made sure it was fine,"
Even though both Reichenbach and her husband, Donald
Reichenbach, had clean water to drink, they needed water in which to bathe.
"When I asked them about taking baths and showers
(until the well was tested), they told me they guess I should just keep my
mouth closed whenever I take a shower," Robin Reichenbach said.
The wells have since been tested several times, most
recently in January, she said.
So far, they have come up clean, although the
Reichenbachs still buy bottled water just to be on the safe side.
"Even though they say the well is fine, I just don't
trust it," Robin Reichenbach said.
She also doesn't trust the soil in her backyard,
where the flood water lay stagnant for almost a week.
"After the flooding, the EPA told us it was going to
do the soil testing right away," she said. "But it never did."
Today, Reichenbach's house, at the end of Floraville
Lane, is separated from her toxic neighbor by a chain-link fence that was
put up several years ago. Weathered metal signs now face Reichenbach's
property, warning her of the dangers on the other side.
It wasn't like that when they moved in eight years
go. The fences weren't there, and she had no idea at the time that her son's
woodland "playground" was once a wood treatment plant.
"My son had a dirt bike and used to play out in the
woods back there everyday," she said.
"The (Environmental Protection Agency) told me I
should get a special kind of well just in case (Brunswick) floods again,"
Reichenbach said. "It would cost me almost $6,000, and I don't think I
should have to buy one for their mistake."
On Thursday, residents concerned about the Brunswick
Wood Preserving site will meet with EPA staff and contractors to answer
questions and provide information about the Superfund site.
Reichenbach won't be able to attend because she has
to work, but she knows others who will be going, including Daniel Parshley
of the Glynn County Environmental Coalition.
Parshley said EPA did some clean up of the
"Up to 1997, some progress was made and 151,000 tons
of contaminated material was disposed off-site," Parshley said. "That leaves
more than a million cubic yards still at the site.
"The underlying problem and the cause of the
flooding is that the EPA left the job half done."
In addition to nearby residential wells, six
municipal wells that serve thousands of residents are within a 4-mile radius
of the site.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will meet
with residents who live in the area of the abandoned wood-treating plant on
Perry Lane Road from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Stellar Conference Center
on Venture Drive, Brunswick.