EPA officials answer questions about plume site

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Environmental Protection Agency hosted a public availability session regard the Capital City Plume site in Downtown Montgomery.   The agency continues to test the air and ground water in a 55 block area of Downtown Montgomery, as it tries to determine whether detected contamination requires a full-scale remediation.  EPA officials did tell WSFA 12 News that the downtown area is safe for development.

Preston Herbert and his wife live near the Capital City Plume site.  They were concerned about whether the contamination in groundwater in the area could cause health problems.  EPA officials said while the traces discovered were low, there are some people who are more sensitive to chemicals.

"We were more concerned with the sickness in the long run, the side effects they could get from the contaminated water," Herbert said.  "And they pretty well explained it to us, so we got a better understanding."

But the director of the Montgomery Water Works bristled at suggestions that groundwater had ever been unsafe in the area.

"The quantities of the product that was there was below the MCL," said Buddy Morgan, director of the Montgomery Water Works.  "Nobody drank from that well, it was a blended system.

Others had questions about Montgomery County's Annex III building, the former site of the Montgomery advertiser.  Some employees complained of headaches, burning eyes, respiratory issues and even bloody noses because of vapors in the building.

"The answer from the EPA's perspective is we're going test the building for the next two quarters, and if there is remediation require, we might move forward and do that remediation," said Scott Miller, the EPA's site manager for the plume site.

Miller told WSFA 12 News that the Agency has not come up with a remedy yet, and is still in the investigation stage of the process.

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