Eastern Heights added to EPA clean up list

Staff Writer

Eastern Heights residents Ethel Whaley and Shakita Whaley were among those who attended a public meeting held by the EPA this week.

Residents of Eastern Heights Subdivision got a strict promise from Environmental Protection Agency officials that they will be included in a massive clean up effort.
Approximately 300 people, mostly residents from the subdivision, were on hand at the Lewis Johnson Senior Citizens Complex Tuesday night to be informed of the EPA’s Superfund Division pertaining to the proposed listing of the Rockwell International Wheel and Trim on the Superfund National Prioritites List.
Present at the meeting were EPA Superfund representatives as well as personnel with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
The large majority of the crowd got an answer they were seeking when EPA Superfund Director Franklin Hill took the floor.
“Eastern Heights is included in this process,” Hill said. “People matter and human health is the primary focus of the Superfund.”
On Dec. 29, a treatment system intended to reduce elevated levels of TCE inside the manufacturing building at the facility was restarted under an EPA removal action. Removal actions are short-term responses intended to protect people from risks or potential risks associated with contaminated sites.
The treatment system will operate with EPA oversight and monitoring.
At the meeting, officials said the EPA will require the facility to submit a sampling plan for the system in order to ensure the system is performing and that workers and residents of Eastern Heights are protected while the system operates.
Adding the site to the National Priorities List will allow EPA to conduct a comprehensive assessment of all the risks to public health and the environment, and take the necessary cleanup actions.
“This is a lot of work and we would like to see boots on the ground pretty soon,” Franklin said. “Possibly 30 to 45 days I’d like to have a team here. I want to be quick and send a message to the responsible parties to get busy.”


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