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.

Trichloroethylene, a suspected human carcinogen, is one of the contaminants found at the CTS site (and still present in unused wells, ground water and streams nearby). TCE was once used to clean and/or degrease metal objects prior to electroplating. Ingesting the chemical or inhaling related vapors can cause a variety of health issues, ranging from headaches to severe liver damage, according to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry.

Some residents — particularly three families who live within one mile of the Mills Gap Road site — drank from private water sources for a decade or more, Xpress has previously reported.

On Thursday, March 10, EPA officials will meet with local residents to discuss what the latest step means. The public meeting will be held at the Skyland Fire Department, 9 Miller Road, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For more background on the site, see the Xpress summary and compilation of documents here. For the first major article on the issue, “Fail Safe?” [May 11, 2007[, click here.

According to the EPA latest release, “The CTS of Asheville, Inc. site is located in south Asheville, near the Skyland Community. Operations occurred at the CTS site from the early 1950’s until 1986.  CTS Corporation manufactured electronic components at the facility from 1959 to 1985.  The chemical compound TCE was used by CTS to clean and/or degrease metal objects prior to electroplating.  In 1987, the original 57-acre property was sold to Mills Gap Road Associates (MGRA) who developed a residential neighborhood on approximately 48 acres, leaving a fenced 9-acre site where the manufacturing had occurred.

For more information about the site, please visit http://www.epa.gov/region4/waste/npl/nplnc/millsgapnc.html.”


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About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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