EPA to retest water near nuke dump site in Parks Township
The Environmental Protection Agency will expand testing on potential contamination of groundwater near the nuclear waste dump in Parks after finding too many holes in existing studies.
The EPA will hold an open house in Leechburg on Tuesday to discuss the matter. Representatives will discuss current and future groundwater studies one-on-one with residents.
“We took the logical step to move forward,” said Lisa Denmark-Johnson, site assessment manager for EPA Region III. The agency will work with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Army Corps of Engineers is heading a 10-year, $500 million project to remove radiological and chemical contaminants at the 44-acre waste dump site.
The EPA conducted tests of the groundwater in 2011 to allay residents' concerns about drinking-water quality amid stories of alleged illegal dumping and potential contamination.
Although the agency didn't find any contamination beyond regulatory limits, it did discover additional testing was needed to assure residents that their drinking water was not contaminated by the nuclear waste dump.
About 50 homes in the village of Kiskimere sit near the waste dump.
Although most of the buildings have public water, some residents drink and use well water, according to the EPA.
“This is much long overdue,” said Patty Ameno, the Leechburg environmental activist who worked to bring the EPA in to test outside of the boundaries of the waste dump.
“The first order of business when you look at this site is the impact of the health and safety of the people and the environment,” she said. “Understanding that everything is money driven, I'm hoping there will be adequate funding to ensure that all of the necessary elements are looked at.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who called for more study of the groundwater, said: “EPA's announcement is a positive step towards getting the residents of Parks Township the information they deserve. It is critical that all of the relevant federal agencies involved, including EPA, CDC and the Army Corps, are involved in a coordinated assessment of any potential risks so that my constituents are fully informed.”
After the EPA found inadequate studies on groundwater for the homes near the waste dump, it approached the Army Corps of Engineers to collaborate with the agency on more testing.
“The Corps will work closely with the EPA in the future with respect to groundwater sampling within its regulatory authority,” said Dan Jones, Corps spokesman.
The sampling conducted by EPA should have no effect on the Corps' schedule to amend its work plan, he added.
The expanded groundwater investigation will be paid for by the EPA from its existing budget from its site-assessment program.
Johnson could not provide details of the expanded testing program as the agency is still working on the study plans, she said.
But she expects the agency to begin the expanded testing project in several months.
Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Keystone Markers give insights about towns but have fallen victim to time, theft or traffic accidents
- ‘Wax weed’ worries authorities
- United Way Impact Fund Grants to award $445K to 26 Butler County nonprofits
- Freeport VFW initiates its ‘monumental project’
- Pyrotechnics display turns from benefit to burden in Tarentum
- State store relocates to Highlands Mall
- Man who threatened to jump from Tarentum Bridge in custody
- Plum landslide to be fixed after year
- Lower Burrell couple charged with 6 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty
- New Kensington dedicates fireworks festivities to longtime coordinator
- Soggy conditions don’t deter people from Springdale jubilee