We have previously spoken on this blog about the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Program. One of the main purposes of the Superfund program is to detect and clean up sites which have been subjected to contamination. Ordinary citizens can help in the enforcement of the program by alerting EPA authorities about site contamination. This is important, because it is often private citizens who first become aware of contamination and who are most impacted by it.
A contaminated site north of Brunswick is a good example of why private citizens would want to alert authorities about site contamination. The site, 700 acres of marshland, has been shown to be polluted with numerous contaminants, including PCBs, dioxins and mercury. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of mercury are estimated to have been dumped into the area.
The site, which is located near residential neighborhoods, is a perfect example of the importance of the Superfund program. Locals are concerned that many of the discovered chemicals can cause endocrine and neurological disorders as well as cancer. As of yet, there have not been unusual rates of cancer reported among local residents, at least according to a Center for Disease Control National Center for Environmental Health report, but local wildlife has been shown to have been contaminated.
The EPA has proposed a cleanup plan for the contaminated site, which includes removing seven acres of contaminated marshland and covering 18 acres. Critics say that the plan needs to be much more extensive to adequately address the contamination issue. In our next post, we’ll explore the cleanup plan and talk a bit about what folks can do to make sure they’re interests are represented in a Superfund cleanup plans.