A Statehouse committee chaired by Buncombe Rep. Tim Moffitt convened in Raleigh Jan. 17 to question DENR officials and hear from residents near the former CTS electroplating facility on Mills Gap Road south of Asheville. Here, Moffitt embraces CTS neighbor Dot Rice, whose family’s spring was contaminated by hazardous chemicals used at the plant; numerous Rice family members have become gravely ill.
The state’s handling of environmental contamination surrounding the former CTS of Asheville plant on Mills Gap Road is about to get some concerted attention in Raleigh, thanks to a special committee chaired by Rep. Tim Moffitt. See a detailed timeline of the long-standing CTS case after the jump. Photo by Katie Damien.
While area residents applaud the CTS building demolition as a positive step, resident Tate MacQueen argues that Buncombe taxpayers will be picking up a tab that should rightfully be paid by the company responsible for contaminating the site and nearby ground water.
A summary of action taken by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners at its Oct. 4 meeting.
The case of the contaminated former CTS facility in Mills Gap has taken a new twist, as Buncombe County last week responded to the property owner’s appeal of its move to demolish the derelict plant building. The county provided property owner Mills Gap Road Associates with a list of measures needed to prevent demolition as scheduled.
A recent bid by residents near the contaminated former CTS of Asheville plant on Mills Gap Road to have the property condemned has taken a step forward. A Buncombe County inspection from last week reveals numerous holes in the roof, missing doors and window glass, and related damage that “doesn’t seem feasible to repair.”
Photo courtesy of EPA.
On Thursday, April 14, Environmental Protection Agency officials hosted another in a long series of community meetings about the contaminated CTS site in south Asheville. Just a few weeks ago, the EPA had announced that the vacant Mills Gap Road property was being proposed for the National Priorities List (aka the Superfund program). But with a final decision not coming till September, the EPA convened the April 14 meeting to report what resources are available to local residents. Photo by Katie Damien.
In a relatively rare moment of bipartisan action today, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican Sen. Richard Burr, along with Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler, sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, urging it to hasten its efforts to clean up the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site.
Mills Gap resident Leigh Ann Smith displays her message regarding the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site. Photo by Katie Damien.
In a statement today, Rep. Heath Shuler declared his support for placing the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site on the national Superfund list. Shuler praised residents of the area and local activists, stating he’d work for a full cleanup “as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”
In September 2010, Environmental Protection Agency officials announced they would consider proposing that the contaminated CTS site be added to the National Priorities List — that is, the Superfund program. Today, March 8, 2011, the EPA said it has taken that step and recommended that the property, located on Mills Gap Road in south Asheville, be added to the NPL of Superfund sites. The federal Superfund program is charged with investigating and cleaning up “the most complex uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country,” the EPA press release says.
Photo by Jonathan Welch
Residents who live near the contaminated former CTS facility on Mills Gap Road have waited for years for cleanup, and as the time draws closer for EPA’s review of the site for inclusion on the National Priorities List (which would place it among the most severely contaminated sites in the U.S.), residents have decided to wait no longer. A group of 16 individuals and families filed suit against the Elkhart, Ind.-based corporation yesterday in federal court. Complainants include Tate MacQueen, spokesperson with the advocacy group Citizen’s Monitoring Council, which has worked to get the issue noticed and addressed, and Lee Ann Smith, whose young sons were treated for cancer after they were exposed to high levels of contaminants in a stream flowing from the CTS property near their home.
Today, a resident of the Mills Gap Road area showed Xpress reporters busted barrels at the border of the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site, which he asserts may point to chemical dumping responsible for groundwater contamination in the area.
Photo by Jonathan Welch
In a perhaps unintended act of irony, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency representatives offered bottled water, chocolates and rubber squeeze balls in the image of the Earth to neighbors of the contaminated former CTS site during a Sept. 9 community meeting.
Don Rigger, a key official from the Region IV office in Atlanta, apologized for the agency’s past mistakes and assured the long-suffering neighbors of the Mills Gap Road site that it will be cleaned up — though he stopped short of saying when.
Now online in the Xpress Files: the sexual harassment suit against the city and the Asheville Police Department, the APD’s defense, a letter from the EPA targeting a man with a contaminated well, the Outlaws biker indictment, and more.
David Bradley, 61, runs an insulation business out of his home on Chapel Hill Church Road, near the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site. Now, based on a request from CTS, the Environmental Protection Agency has demanded that Bradley give out information on his home as a possible source of contamination or face stiff fines.
The Environmental Protection Agency failed to find contamination promptly, adequately address its cleanup or communicate effectively with residents affected by air and water contamination from a former industrial plant near Asheville, according to a stinging report released last week by an independent office of the EPA. Warning: A sign near the contaminated former CTS of […]
A report released today by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General strongly criticizes the agency’s response to contamination at the former CTS of Asheville site. The report asserts that while testing standards were followed, limited oversight, along with poor record-keeping and communication, harmed the effort and failed to communicate the hazards to the public.
At a press conference tonight, activists called for: excavating contaminated soil; bringing city water to the area; a congressional investigation; the state to investigate NCDENR’s role in cleanup; adding the original plant site to the federal Superfund list (while removing the Rice property from that list); and for compensation of the Rice and Robinson families.
Residents of the Mills Gap Road area have set up a fund to pay for independent soil, water and vapor testing near the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners kept its Feb. 2 meeting short, authorizing tax collections, passing grants and, in closed session, discussing the contentious issue of its meeting prayer (though they took no action on that item).