EPA Actions Puzzle Wildwood Leaders
What does Environmental Protection Agency's recent withdrawal of dioxin remediation goals mean to Wildwood's anticipation of a final report from the agency regarding the long-term health safety of the city's former Superfund site?
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials took unexpected action that has left local experts at a loss, Wildwood's City Administrator Dan Dubruiel told city council members at Monday's council meeting.
Dubruiel said the EPA recently withdrew its preliminary dioxin remediation goals (PRG) from the White House Office of Management and Budget review. Wildwood representatives now wonder if that will affect the EPA's rulings on samples recently taken at Wildwood sites that have caused a chain of controversy since 2007.
Wildwood representatives for years have been dealing with EPA officials regarding a former Superfund site located in Wildwood, which was remediated and then purchased by a local resident whose goal was to create a new subdivision there. Wildwood city council members eventually voted to reverse the city's authorization of the subdivision, which prompted a lawsuit from the local home-builder Wesley Byrne.
See related article: Owning a Superfund Site
Most recently, city officials requested additional EPA testing of land, water and air that encircle the original site, based upon some data from environmental consultants and state sources that contaminants may have migrated over time.
"We've received verbal assurance that this new news from EPA will not have an adverse effect on the Strecker Forest site," said Dubruiel. "But it is premature to charactertize it at this point. And we received confirmation that EPA will still release its report on Strecker Forest by the end of May."
An attorney representing Wildwood in an ongoing legal dispute about the proposed subdivision, Bruce Morrison, stated in an email to Dubruiel that he spoke to EPA remedial project manager Bob Feild on Friday. "Mr. Feild expressed the opinion (and I do not know if the opinion is his, EPA Region 7's, and/or EPA HQs') that a dioxin interim PRG no longer is necessary because EPA will be able to calculate the PRG from the dioxin non-cancer reference dose which EPA published in February 2012."
Morrison stated Feild said to his knowledge, EPA has not yet made the calculation.
EPA Region 7 serves Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and nine Tribal Nations from a regional office in Kansas City. The group established an office in Fenton in 2005, and have been managing the recent sampling of Wildwood sites from there. The office also serves to handle an abundance of lead sites in southcentral Missouri.
Feild also reportedly said EPA still intends to publish a revised cancer slope factor for dioxin, but he does not know when that will occur. Feild said EPA Region 7 experts now are determining how to go about implementing the dioxin non-cancer reference dose in terms of "determining a dioxin PRG."
Wildwood resident Dan Topik told council members during the public participation portion of Monday's meeting he was "still confused" about EPA's withdrawal.
From online research about the matter, Topik said he discovered other entities placed pressure on the EPA to withdraw this standard. He said those entities included the Department of Defense, American Chemistry Association, and the International Dairy Food Association. "Even the State of Missouri protested," he said.
"Judy Piatt, author of the book Killing Horses, said 'you can fight EPA but you'll never win.' I now believe her. This is a fight we in Wildwood are never going to win," said Topik.
Read more about EPA Region 7 Most Recent Environmental Reviews of Strecker Forest in Wildwood. These reviews reflect a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Report (ESA) and the draft Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) for the proposed Strecker Forest residential subdivision.