Displaying items by tag: knoxville superfund site
EPA finally capping toxic waste at South Knoxville Superfund site
KNOXVILLE — The Environmental Protection Agency this week began putting a protective cap on the former Smokey Mountain Smelters site to control its pollution.
The EPA said the cap will protect nearby waterways by stopping stormwater runoff from combining with the toxic waste on site. Engineers and workers began the project the week of July 6.
By cutting it off from the stormwater, the EPA hopes to stop toxins from flowing away either through groundwater or runoff. The site is off Maryville Pike in South Knoxville. Caleb Properties purchased two of the site’s three parcels at the Delinquent Property Tax Sale on May 16. EPA is building the cap and storing the waste in the area Caleb Properties purchased. The agency stated Caleb Properties committed to “allocating a portion of the development of the site for community benefit,” and they’ll still have to work with the EPA’s remedy for cleanup.
Hellbender Press has reported on the cleanup sites and environmental legacies.
Vestal community leans into future of multiple South Knoxville Superfund sites
KNOXVILLE — City residents are discussing the future of the Vestal community’s toxic sites after a long history of industrial use and activism that recently led to federally funded action to clean up at least one infamous Superfund site.
Vestal community resident Cathy Scott shared the history of each of these sites near Maryville Pike at South Knox Community Center during two Vestal Community Organization meetings related to the cleanup of multiple Superfund sites on the south side of the city.
She said in an email to Hellbender Press that much of her information came from John Nolt, formerly of the University of Tennessee Philosophy Department and author of the essay “Injustice in the Handling of Nuclear Weapons Waste: The Case of David Witherspoon Inc.,” which is chapter three of the book “Mountains of Injustice: Social and Environmental Justice in Appalachia.”
While the EPA is focusing on the Smokey Mountain Smelter site, Scott, Nolt and others have discussed other properties and their effects on nearby watersheds. The sites are all connected to the Witherspoon family. They are at are at 1508 Maryville Pike; 1630 Maryville Pike and adjacent land; 901 Maryville Pike and 4430 Candoro Ave. The meetings took place Feb. 13 and 22.
“It was a phenomenal accomplishment of community collaboration,” Eric Johnson, president of Vestal Community Organization, said of the two meetings.
Knoxville’s most polluted former industrial site is slated for a massive cleanup soon thanks to funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill Congress recently passed. The Smokey Mountain Smelters site in Vestal has spent more than a decade on the National Priorities List, commonly called the “Superfund” list, of the most contaminated properties in the U.S.
The work could start within just a few months, said Rusty Kestle, Environmental Protection Agency project manager for the site. He said it’s the top priority in the Southeast for the infrastructure funding because it’s among the most affordable and ready for action.