NORTH BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation into contamination in North Birmingham has led to the naming of companies that are “potentially responsible.”
Some companies have yet to receive notices mailed by the EPA on September 20th. U.S. Pipe, Alagasco, KMAC, Walter Coke and Drummond Coal have all been named, “Potentially Responsible Parities” by the EPA. PRPs, as they are called, include current and former owners and operators of a site. They can be held responsible for cleaning up affected areas.
Both Alagasco and Walter Coke have confirmed, they have received notification. While Walter Coke has been working with the EPA for quite some time, some companies were surprised to learn they were included in the list.
A spokeswoman with Alagasco tells us they received a letter on September 26th and says:
“The company is surprised by the letter based Alagasco”s knowledge of the site. Last year we submitted to the EPA, information about Alagasgo’s past operations in that particular parcel (the specific site mentioned in the letter). Alagasco is still in process of reviewing this recent notification, and again it was a surprise,” said Spokeswoman Sherri Goodman.
The companies are being asked to clean up 50 of the most contaminated properties found through testing done by the EPA.
The locations have the highest levels of arsenic, lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, another harmful pollutant, out of 400 total properties found to be contaminated, which will be cleaned up at a later time.
Those who live in the area hope for more long-term solutions.
“I feel that this will be going on even after I pass on. I have grand children out here. My grand children could still be
hearing about this thing even after they grow up so something needs to be done about it now,” said Janice Johnson.
The process will be lengthy for the companies that agree to conduct the clean up. Everything on the property like soil and plants will be completely replaced.
If the companies chose not to participate, the EPA will incur the cost and will then go after the companies for repayment.
Since 2011, the EPA has tested 1100 residential properties.
Link to letter’s mailed to companies: http://www2.epa.gov/north-birmingham-project/general-notice-letters-sent-prps