County issues requirements for former CTS facility to escape demolition-attachment0

County issues requirements for former CTS facility to escape demolition

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.

Contaminated former CTS site moves closer to condemnation

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.

The EPA gets earful from Mills Gap community

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.

Hagan, Burr, Shuler send letter to EPA urging prompt clean-up at CTS site

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.

EPA proposes adding local CTS site to Superfund list-attachment0

EPA proposes adding local CTS site to Superfund list

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.

Seeking relief: CTS neighbors file lawsuit


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.

EPA branch chief pledges CTS site will be cleaned up-attachment0

EPA branch chief pledges CTS site will be cleaned up

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.

The Green Scene: Feds ineffective on Mills Gap Road contamination

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 […]

EPA inspector general blasts agency’s handling of CTS site-attachment0

EPA inspector general blasts agency’s handling of CTS site

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.

CTS neighbors call for clean-up, reparations and investigation of government agencies’ behavior

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.

CTS of Asheville contamination

In 1999, neighbors living adjacent to former electroplating facility called CTS of Asheville discovered an oily substance in their drinking water. When the Environmental Protection Agency responded, they found levels of trichloroethylene, a toxic substance and suspected carcinogen, at 21,000 parts per billion: more than 4,000 times the safe standard for potable water. Those neighbors […]

CTS health study: lead found in area, but low risk of contamination spreading-attachment0

CTS health study: lead found in area, but low risk of contamination spreading

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released a health assessment today of the area surrounding the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site. The study declares that there is no elevated rates of cancer in a 1-mile radius, and little risk of contamination spreading, but also declares that new harmful substances such as lead have been found in the area.