Clayton County NAACP & Others to Host Vapor Intrusion Community Forum for Fort Gillem Area Residents
Posted Tuesday, November 25, 2014
For More Information, Contact:
C. Synamon Baldwin: (404) 424-6567 President, Clayton County NAACP Stephanie
Stuckey Benfield: (404) 964-7025 Executive Director, GreenLaw
What: A community forum to engage stakeholders and residents in the Fort Gillem Community on issues related to groundwater contamination from the military base. The forum will encourage transparent and open dialogue with community members to answer questions they may have about interpreting test results, how hazardous wastes migrate through ground water, what causes vapor intrusion, health impacts, home values, cleanup efforts, etc.
Who: The forum will be led by Lenny Siegel, Executive Director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight. Siegel has been overseeing the cleanup of military and private contamination sites for more than three decades. The forum is co-hosted by the Clayton County NAACP, Clayton County Commissioner Sonna Singleton Gregory, State Representative Keisha Waites, and the public interest environmental law firm, GreenLaw.
When: Sunday, December 7 from 5-7 pm Where: Elevate Church 4645 Jonesboro Road Forest Park, GA 30297 Why: The purpose of the forum is to provide fact-based information from an expert who’s worked on collaborative stakeholder engagement in response to military base contamination.
Basic Information about Fort Gillem Contamination:
- Fort Gillem was established by the U.S. Army in 1941 and is located on 1,465 acres in Forest Park. In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended that Fort Gillem be closed, and an exit ceremony was held in June of 2011. The Army still operates a crime lab and Army Reserve Center on the Gillem Enclave.
- Large groundwater contaminant plumes containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have migrated from landfills and waste burial sites on the Fort Gillem property under neighborhoods located adjacent to the North, Northwest, and South property boundaries of the base.
- The contamination resulted from chemicals, waste oils, and industrial solvents that were disposed of on the facility’s property before such practices were prohibited by environmental regulations.
- One way humans are exposed to the potentially harmful chemicals in the groundwater contaminant plumes is through vapor intrusion. Vapor intrusion can occur where VOC contaminated groundwater emits vapors that can migrate through subsurface soils and into indoor air spaces of overlying buildings.
- Recent testing detected vapors inside some homes and buildings underlain by the groundwater plume. Some of the compounds detected in the indoor air include benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), and 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane.
- The concentration of vapors accumulating in homes is small, but breathing the contaminated air over long periods may present a concern.
- The Army, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the Georgia Division of Public Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with other federal, state, and local agencies are working to assess and remediate the contamination. While all these government entities have been involved in the process, more stakeholder engagement is needed.
Center for Public Environmental Oversight is an organization that promotes and facilitates public participation in the oversight of environmental activities, including but not limited to the remediation of federal facilities, private "Superfund" sites, and Brownfields. It was formed in 1992 by the San Francisco Urban Institute, in response to the large number of military base closures in the San Francisco Bay Area. It draws upon more than four decades of work led by Director Lenny Siegel at the Pacific Studies Center, a non-profit public interest information center in nearby Mountain View, California.
Clayton County NAACP is a branch of the NAACP, which has as its mission to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality right of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
GreenLaw is dedicated to preventing air and water pollution that endangers human health and degrades Georgia’s natural resources. Since 1992, GreenLaw has achieved these goals by providing free high quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia. For more information, visit www.greenlaw.org and follow @greenlaw_GA on Twitter.
Keisha Waites has served as State Representative for House District 60 since 2012. Her district includes the Fort Gillem community. Prior to serving in the Legislature, Waites worked in the Legislative and External Affairs Division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Sonna Singleton Gregory was first elected in 2006 to represent Clayton County Commission District 1, which includes the Fort Gillem community. She has built a reputation as a tireless neighborhood advocate.