For nearly 30 years, the CTS of Asheville Superfund site has been a source of physical and social toxicity for the surrounding community. With remedial efforts to address the source of contamination finally underway, residents, activists and others reflect on the triumphs and tribulations of the decades-long battle for a clean-up and accountability.
Cleanup efforts are finally beginning at the CTS of Asheville Superfund site on Mills Gap Road, but past controversies and a lack of trust in Environmental Protection Agency officials continued to dominate the discussion during a Nov. 30 public meeting to review the impending remedial projects and address residents’ concerns.
About 50 people gathered at the Skyland Fire Department this afternoon to see an in-depth WLOS report on the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site. Many, residents of the Mills Gap Road area, have lived with the specter of the nearby pollution for more than a decade. They expressed their hope for a clean-up, an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency’s handling of the matter and renewed pressure on legislators.
In the ongoing ground-water contamination case connected to the former CTS electroplating plant on Mills Gap Road in south Asheville, emails between the EPA and residents imply that agency action to get new water service was being considered last July. But municipal water hookups remain far from certain.
A North Carolina House Select Committee has issued subpoenas to compel key EPA officials, including Superfund Branch Chief Don Rigger, to testify in a hearing in Raleigh next month, even as Mills Gap Road-area residents file a formal complaint of criminal negligence against the agency in the case of the former CTS of Asheville, and another Mills Gap home receives an emergency supply of bottled water from the EPA. Photo by Susan Andrew.
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.
Emotions ran high at a March 10 press conference and community meeting at the Skyland Fire Department concerning the former CTS of Asheville plant. As uniformed police officers wearing bulletproof vests kept watch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials announced that the plant and adjacent Mills Gap Road property have been proposed for addition to the National Priorities List of hazardous-waste sites. Addition to the list would rank the property among the most contaminated sites in the nation, qualifying it for cleanup under the Superfund program.
Photos by Jonathan Welch
On Monday, Dec. 21, the CTS Citizens Monitoring Council delivered a report listing actions it says must be taken to clean up chemical contamination at the Mills Gap Road site and surrounding neighborhoods.