EPA evacuates three families near CTS superfund site in South Asheville

The CTS site was added to the Superfund inventory in 2012 but has been under investigation for decades. (file photo)

WLOS reported earlier tonight, June 6, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state officials evacuated three families who live near the CTS superfund site on Mills Gap Road in South Asheville.

A few weeks ago, local citizens groups and EPA officials announced that a “significant amount of trichloroethylene (TCE) is dissolved in a mass of petroleum that is floating on shallow groundwater beneath the CTS of Asheville site. ”

The contamination was first discovered in the late 1980s, when a resident called to report a large chemical pond on the site.

WLOS attributed the June 6 evacuations to highly elevated toxins in recent air samples:

Officials are now relocating families after new tests reveal highly toxic levels of TCE in the outside air around the site.  Soil vapor tests show the air is eight times more toxic than EPA regulations allow.  EPA and state public health officials drove to Asheville Friday night, to deliver the test results to the Rice family, who live next to the CTS site.  

Read More at: http://wlos.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wlos_breaking-families-near-cts-site-evacuated-16526.shtml

At 8:44 p.m., the EPA sent this PRESS RELEASE:

(Atlanta, GA – June 6, 2014) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) met with families in Asheville, N.C., to offer temporary relocation after finding elevated levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) at three residences adjacent to the former CTS of Asheville, Inc. Superfund site.

All three families have agreed to temporarily relocate and EPA is working closely with them.

On June 2, CTS Corporation’s contractor submitted preliminary analytical data from air sampling conducted on properties neighboring the eastern boundary of the former CTS of Asheville plant property. EPA was notified on June 4 that the data had been validated. Sampling was conducted April 21-24 with EPA oversight, and included ambient (outdoor), crawl space and indoor areas.

Sampling results indicated that concentrations of TCE exceeded EPA’s residential air screening level for TCE and the regional recommended chemical/site specific removal management level (RML). Screening levels are values used by EPA to help determine if a contaminant should be considered for further evaluation. RMLs are values used by EPA to help determine if a removal action may be needed.

In order to provide timely notification and protect the health of those impacted by the findings, EPA is offering temporary relocation to affected families. The relocation is necessary protect the health of the residents while  response actions are evaluated and implemented to reduce TCE levels in ambient and indoor air at the affected residential properties.

The temporary relocation will extend until after actions are completed to reduce TCE concentrations in indoor air to below the chemical/site-specific RML and additional sampling data verifies the results.
More information about the CTS Site:


Connect with EPA Region 4 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/eparegion4
And on Twitter: @EPASoutheast


To view a timeline of the CTS case, go to http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/cts-contamination.

For more history, visit http://www.mountainx.com/xpressfiles/040908ctssite and see the 2007 Xpress story by Rebecca Bowe, “Fail Safe?

For the latest CTS-related articles, check http://www.mountainx.com/tag/cts.


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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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4 thoughts on “EPA evacuates three families near CTS superfund site in South Asheville

  1. The long delay in this matter is really beyond belief.
    Mostly, I think, the delays during the GW Bush administration held things up. But the Dems don’t come off a whole lot better.

    Those of us who have followed the matter since the 1990s knew that there were serious health risks 20 years ago. And no amount of community action, local government effort, even EPA acknowledgment of potential problems, served to protect people from a serious and continuing health hazard.

  2. This horrendous situation finally got some action by EPA due to the hard work of local activists, WLOS’ hour long expose’ that included lies and possibly criminal activity from EPA officials. Local elected officials were not at the well publicized town hall meeting featured in this link to voice concerns and share in the drive to get action.

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