The Girl Scouts aren’t waiting for government action. Last December, nonprofit RiverLink went public with details about perchloroethylene (PCE) contamination in two West Asheville streams (see “Green Scene: Old Chemicals, New Concerns:” Dec. 23, 2008 Xpress). RiverLink’s French Broad Riverkeeper, Hartwell Carson, urged local officials to put up signs warning residents about the PCE, which has apparently migrated through groundwater and streams from the site of a now-defunct dry-cleaning business, Andrex Industries. But nothing happened.
So some local Girl Scouts recently took action on behalf of Buttermilk Creek near Malvern Hills Park and Smith Mill Creek, which runs through the popular Roy Farmer Park. They posted “No Swimming” and “Polluted Creek” signs and wrote letters asking elected officials to warn the public and clean up the streams. One 9-year-old scout summed up the situation, saying, “It is not fair to leave all that pollution in the creek.”
Although RiverLink has obtained a Clean Water Management Trust grant for stream-restoration work that will improve aquatic habitat, reduce stormwater pollution, and minimize stream bank erosion at the two streams, more needs to be done about cleaning up the PCE, a suspected carcinogen (the chemical is similar to contamination at the former CTS site in Skyland), says Carson. As the Girl Scouts urge, “Please keep the river clean, because it’s really important.”
For more information, contact RiverLink at 252-8474, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.riverlink.org.
— Margaret Wiliams