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Arco Danger is Unclear 


The Brunswick News
Date: September 04, 2003
Section(s) Frontpage

One Arco resident of 47 years wants to move because she thinks it's possible her neighborhood is so contaminated that it killed her husband.

Christine Turner points to this as the reason why she wants to leave but also why no one will buy her house.

 "Right now you couldn't sell it to save your soul," she said.

 Ms. Turner would like to see the neighborhood cleaned. Before that can happen it has to be determined if it is actually contaminated.

 At an Arco community meeting Wednesday, residents and landowners called for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to give them some answers.

 Eight years after LCP Chemicals was declared a Superfund site it is still unclear if the surrounding neighborhood is contaminated with mercury and PCB, which were found in the immediate area of the plant.

 Shea Jones, EPA remedial project manager, said she is in the process of trying to determine whether further tests are necessary.

 More tests would add to the large sum of money already spent on the cleanup of the LCP property. The three companies held by the courts to be responsible for the pollution, Allied Signal, Georgia Power and ARCO, spent $74 million testing water and removing contaminated soil at the Superfund site and in the bordering marsh, said Darahyl Dennis of Georgia Power environmental affairs.

 "And I am sure Allied spent more," Dennis said.

 In the call for a neighborhood health assessment, residents have the backing of at least one elected official, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-1. Kingston's position is human life comes above money, said his aide, Rob Asbell, who attended the community meeting.

 "The congressman has contacted the EPA in Washington saying, 'What will it take for you to do off-site testing?'" Asbell said.

 Ms. Turner said that for most of the 47 years she lived in sight of the plant, she had no idea the plant was leaking toxins into the environment.

Her husband died of cancer and heart failure. It is well known that PCB causes both of those, she is quick to point out.

 Ms. Turner, saying she believes it is possible environmental pollutants are responsible for her husband's death, is concerned about the health of her three children who grew up in Arco.

 One man who owns rental property in Arco expressed unhappiness at the meeting at being told it could be years before a conclusive answer is known.

 "As a landowner if I try to sell that doesn't make me feel good because you folks here have put a stigma on the site...and I am asking [the EPA] to make haste," said George Patelidas.

 Dennis of Georgia Power, one of the responsible parties for the site because of a generator the company kept there, said tests and cleanup have been concentrated to date at the Superfund site because that threat was the most immediate.

 "Now is probably the right time to look at other areas," he said.



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