Grenada community holds protest against EPA about contamination issue

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A group from Grenada traveled to the State Capitol Tuesday protesting about a contamination issue that  they said has been a problem for a community there for years.

According to the group, many in the Eastern Heights community have suffered from illnesses that could be possibly linked to contamination from a nearby industrial plant.  They believe the Environmental Protection Agency is not doing enough to protect their community. They would like to see the EPA  take more action. They said the contamination has been an ongoing issue for more than two decades.

EPA PROTEST 2The group is asking Mississippi state leaders to stand with them on the issue. Congressman Bennie Thompson sent a letter to the EPA, voicing his concerns.

“While various contaminants have been identified in the air, soil and groundwater by both EPA and private testing firms, the response by EPA to resolve the contamination has been lackluste,” Thompson said. ” In my letter to EPA, I not only asked them to act immediately on this issue of grave concern but also asked them to meet with me immediately to brief me on steps being taken by the agency and identify where this has gone wrong.”

The group said a federal lawsuit was filed in Oxford.

The EPA released the following statement about the issue:

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with various parties to conduct a limited vapor intrusion study at select homes in the Eastern Heights residential community located close to the Grenada Stamping (formerly Grenada Manufacturing, LLC) facility in Grenada, Mississippi. This study is part of a precautionary approach to protect public health and the environment.  Environmental sampling results from groundwater and soil vapor collected on the edge of the community have revealed a potential concern for contaminants trapped in groundwater that may possibly be traveling off of the facility’s property line into the nearby community.

A vapor intrusion study is necessary to evaluate whether site-related contamination, primarily the solvent trichloroethylene (TCE), may be entering structures in the form of a gas (or vapor) from contamination below ground. TCE is a non-flammable, colorless liquid used as a solvent for cleaning metal parts. It is a common groundwater contaminant.

In September 2015, a Vapor Intrusion (VI) study was initiated in the Eastern Heights neighborhood due to concerns with contaminated groundwater either migrating from the facility or coming from other sources located to the east. Groundwater samples were also collected throughout the neighborhood. The initial results did not indicate a completed vapor intrusion pathway in the six residences that were sampled.

Most recently, during the week of February 29, 2016, EPA oversaw a second round of ambient air and vapor intrusion sampling in Grenada. Contractors for the responsible party, Grenada Manufacturing, LLC., conducted air sampling around and in homes located near the facility to determine if residents are being exposed to potentially harmful levels of TCE. Sampling results are expected in mid-April.

In keeping with its mission to protect human health and the environment, EPA is committed to keeping the community informed every step of the way.  The Agency continues to conduct extensive community engagement efforts detailing the progress as well as the results of the study will be forthcoming.  As part of its community engagement EPA continues to provide opportunities for community members to interact with the Agency, as well as the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to ask questions and obtain more information.

 

The EPA said more information about this could be found on their website. 

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