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EPA Announces Plan to Address Environmental Concerns for North Birmingham Communities

Release Date: 10/01/2012
Contact Information: James Pinkney, (404) 562-9183, pinkney.james@epa.gov

Atlanta, GA -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today its plans to characterize and assess environmental concerns in the north Birmingham communities of Collegeville, Fairmont, and Harriman Park. EPA intends to complete its assessment as quickly as possible to address potential environmental contamination in the area and protect the health of community members.

The plan will include a coordinated effort using Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) authorities to focus on environmental conditions in the area.

RCRA was enacted to ensure that facilities which treat, store, or dispose of waste, clean up contamination resulting from current and past releases. As part of these efforts, using its RCRA authorities, EPA has entered into an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with Walter Coke, Inc., for its facility located in north Birmingham. Under the AOC, which became effective on September 24, 2012, Walter Coke has agreed to conduct RCRA Corrective Measures Studies for numerous Solid Waste Management Units and Areas of Concern on its property, and implement EPA-approved site restoration and/or cleanup remedies for those areas. The AOC is designed to be a roadmap for an effective site-wide cleanup and is available for viewing at http://epa.gov/northbhamproject/.

In addition, EPA will use its CERCLA authorities (also known as Superfund) to assess nearby communities. A Superfund assessment will allow EPA to determine the possible presence of pollutants based on sound science, identify potentially responsible parties, and determine appropriate next steps in the community. The EPA will begin its assessment by seeking access to residential properties in the Harriman Park neighborhood, followed by the Fairmont and Collegeville communities.

The AOC and Superfund assessment support EPA’s overall mission to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment.

EPA will establish a presence in the community in the near future to work with residents to obtain the needed access agreements to carry out the assessment.

The EPA continues to gather and review information relating to air, water and health concerns in north Birmingham and will continue to ensure that the affected community, businesses, local, state and federal officials are well informed and have the opportunity to work with us. The EPA will also provide environmental education opportunities to help community members understand the risks associated with possible exposure to identified pollutants in the area, as well as the regulations governing them.

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http://epa.gov/northbhamproject/