PNS Daily Newscast - Friday, August 23, 2019 

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Daily Newscasts

EPA Report on NC Superfund Site: Progress Made, More Steps Needed

The CTS building was torn down in 2012, but chemical cleanup remains incomplete. (POWER Action Group)
The CTS building was torn down in 2012, but chemical cleanup remains incomplete. (POWER Action Group)
September 1, 2016

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The cleanup of an Asheville Superfund site is making progress, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a report released Wednesday, but there is more work to be done.

The report indicates delays in the clean up may have left residents with prolonged exposure to a cancer-causing chemical.

The investigation began in 1985, but remediation isn't expected to begin until this fall.

Lee Ann Smith, chair of the citizens’ organization POWER Action Group, is one resident who has fought for site cleanup since the beginning.

She says she’s convinced the EPA will make sure CTS Corp. follows through.

"There's always those concerns, but also I am very optimistic,” she states. “Legally, it does have to be followed through.

“With the political situation, things can always change, but I do feel really optimistic that this is going to move forward."

POWER Action Group recently applied for a grant to extend the contract of its technical adviser so the group can continue to monitor the process independently.

In its report, the EPA is recommending procedures for site investigation, sampling and monitoring be improved. In addition, the agency says officials need to improve their communication with the public.

For Smith, who lives near the site, the fight is personal. Her son often played in a stream that flows by the site and developed thyroid cancer when he was 11.

Smith believes her son's illness is linked to trichloroethylene, a highly toxic chemical found in streams and wells in the area.

"We can't have change until we start speaking out and our government leaders start speaking out and the laws and rules and regulations are changed so that human health and the environment is protected," she stresses.

The EPA and the state's assessment of the CTS site began in 1985. It took 14 years for the property to be declared contaminated and the site was added to the federal agency's National Priorities List in 2012.

Smith at 828-775-5020. Link to report:

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC